Wallops Island may become premier tourist attraction, DelmarvaNow
"As we start to look at more orbital launches at Wallops, we start to see more potential for tourism," said Lisa Challenger, director of Worcester County Tourism. "I've never been to a rocket launch in Florida, but apparently, it's huge. We have the potential to attract a lot of people, so we want to be prepared for that." Tourism officials also need to prep for the inevitability that a launch could get scratched, and setting up ways to redirect visitors if that happens, Challenger added. She said rocket launches, whenever they arrive to Wallops, would be so spectacular that they would be visible along the coast from Delaware to Virginia Beach -- the thrill that's at the root of making this a tri-state effort."
Keith's update: Great idea. Imagine this: people might actually get in their car and drive a fair distance just to watch something launched into space. Alas, NASA Wallops PAO and center management are incapable of conducting even basic public engagement activities surrounding launches. Most people only learn of launches after the fact - if at all. By far, residents in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware are blissfully unaware of the fact that things have been launched into space from Wallops for half a century and that more activity lies ahead. NASA clearly does not seem to want to step up to this task, so it is up to the surrounding communities to do so. But unless NASA Wallops provides data on launches with sufficient lead time, these external efforts are doomed from the onset.