One of my readers, who wishes to go by is nickname Doubting Thomas on Behind the Black, went to Boca Chica earlier this week with the hope of seeing the live first orbital launch of Superheavy with Starship stacked on top. Unfortunately, the launch on April 17, 2023 was scrubbed, and he could not remain in Boca Chica for the now rescheduled launch early tomorrow morning on April 20th.
He sent me some pictures of that experience, however, which I post here with his permission. The best of course is the one to the right, of Starship stacked on Superheavy on the launchpad. This was taken before the roads were closed, and shows how incredibly close the general public can get to that launchpad simply by driving past on a public road.
The next few pictures give us a glimpse at the options people have for viewing future Boca Chica launches.
The first picture to the right shows the entrance sign at the public beach at Boca Chica. Apparently once can drive your car onto the beach and camp there prior to the road closure.
You of course then have to stay there, either until after the launch (preferred) or until the roads reopen. I am not sure of the distance from this beach to the launch tower, but it is almost certainly more than five miles. Nonetheless, the view would be grand. See the correction below in the comments.
The second picture shows the entrance to the Rocket Ranch, where Doubting Thomas stayed, who explained,
The Ranch is an old campground purchased by a set of friends who had gone to the Cape to watch the first Falcon Heavy launch and saw a niche business in Brownsville and Boca Chica.
The third picture is actual viewing stands at the Rocket Ranch, dubbed the Outpost. Note the “Don’t Panic!” sign. According to Doubting Thomas, the stands are about 3.85 miles from the orbital launch tower, making this almost as good as the viewing stands for V.I.P.s at Cape Canaveral.
From the Rocket Ranch website:
Rocket Ranch Starbase is a unique camping destination located on the Rio Grande River. We are nestled in the southernmost tip of Texas. Due to the curves in the river, we are literally south of the border. The Space X Starship factory and launch pad are only 8 miles away.
This rugged terrain is where the last battle of the Civil War was fought and is now a wildlife preserve, home to hundreds of species of birds. Only a short drive to one of Texas’ most secluded beaches. We have a lot to offer, so come and stay with us and enjoy this hidden oasis.
You can stay at the ranch either by camping, bringing your own camper, or renting the ranch house. There appears to be a waiting list to make a reservation, but then, why should that surprise us?