I grew up in Winter Park Florida and when they were testing the saturn 5 rockets that eventually sent us to the moon. The first saturn 5 was to lift off early in the morning, like 2am. So mom woke us up and we set up telescope to see it from our yard. We listened to the radio and when it launched we had to wait for it to rise above the curve of the earth. And when we could see it we did not need a telescope. It was lit up from the flames, and slowly rotating. We could read USA of the side of the rocket so clearly.
Totally cool. Seeing the mercury and apollo mission launches from my front yard. My wife and I did see a shuttle launch from about 2 miles away from the launch pad once. Totally awesome.