Why is Florida a good place to launch rockets from?

It’s all about location, proximity and security

Rockets are launched from several regions in the world, but how exactly are they chosen? What makes a location a prime spot for rocket launches? There could be several reasons, but it comes down to proximity, location, and security.

Florida is a prime location for launches for two main reasons.

Ready, Set, Launch! Astronauts will launch from Kennedy Space Center in May aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket

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First, it’s necessary to understand how the Earth’s rotation works. Our planet spins from west to east. One full rotation takes 24 hours anywhere on Earth. But the surface speeds vary from where you are standing on earth. At the poles, you must travel much slower to make a 24-hour cycle at about 0.00005 mph. To do a full cycle at the equator, you must travel much faster at about 1,000 mph. This makes sense since the earth is a sphere and it bulges out at the equator. A rocket that leaves from a location near the equator would benefit from the extra boost in speed.

Earth takes about 24 hours to rotate on its axis, which is why a day is 24 hours long.
Earth takes about 24 hours to rotate on its axis, which is why a day is 24 hours long. (NASA/NASA)
FUN FACT: Florida is about 6,900 miles from the equator

The second reason is also based on location. Since the planet spins from west to east, a location along the East Coast is critical to catch the extra boost from the Earth’s spin.

Catching the extra boost moving eastward also allows much more run for the launch. The ample Atlantic Ocean serves as a more secure landing spot in case any emergencies arise.

Testing of launches done at shorter sequences is usually done in deserted locations since it usually requires a much smaller range of launch.

Here is a list of some countries where rockets are launched from:

  • Wales
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • North Korea
  • Japan
  • Kenya
  • India
  • French Guiana
  • China
  • Australia
  • United States