KENNEDY SPACE CENTER (NASA), MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA space vehicle launch facility and Launch Control Center on Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida. The site is near Cape Canaveral, midway between Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. It is 34 miles long and around 6 miles wide, covering 219 square miles.
Kennedy Space Center is a major tourist destination for visitors to Florida with a visitor center and public tours. Because much of Kennedy Space Center is a restricted area and only nine percent of the land is developed, the site also serves as an important wildlife sanctuary; Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore are also features of this area.
The Rocket Garden is open to visitors at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is home to a number of museums, a simulation ride into space, two IMAX theatres, and a range of bus tours allowing visitors a closer look at various restricted areas that would otherwise not be possible. Base admission for people over age 12 is $38 (always double check rates for changes). Included in the base admission is tour-bus transportation into the restricted area to an observation gantry on the grounds of Launch Complex 39, and to the Apollo-Saturn V Center. The observation gantry provides unobstructed views of both launch pads and all of Kennedy Space Center property. The Apollo-Saturn V Center is a large museum built around its centerpiece exhibit, a restored Saturn V launch vehicle, and features other space related exhibits, including an Apollo capsule. Two theaters allow the visitor to relive parts of the Apollo program. One simulates the environment inside an Apollo-era firing room during an Apollo launch, and another simulates the Apollo 11 landing. The tour also includes a visit to a building where modules for the International Space Station are tested.
The Visitor Complex also includes two facilities run by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation. The most visible of these is the Space Mirror Memorial, also known as the Astronaut Memorial, a huge black granite mirror through-engraved with the names of all astronauts who died in the line of duty. These names are constantly illuminated from behind, with natural light when possible, and artificial light when necessary. The glowing names seem to float in a reflection of the sky. Supplemental displays nearby give the details of the lives and deaths of the astronauts memorialized. Elsewhere on the Visitor Complex grounds is the Foundation's Center for Space Education, which includes a resource center for teachers, among other facilities.
Spacecraft on display:
- Gemini 9A capsule, at the Visitor Complex
- Apollo/Skylab Rescue mission Command Module, at the Visitor Complex
- LM-9, an Apollo Lunar Module originally meant for Apollo 15, Saturn V Center
- Mercury-Atlas 8 capsule Astronaut Hall of Fame
- Sigma 7 Astronaut Hall of Fame
- Apollo 14 Command Module Kitty Hawk Astronaut Hall of Fame.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides an exhilarating and educational experience of the space program. Whether touring the Rocket Garden, or boarding a full-scale replica of the Space Shuttle Explorer, visitors are guaranteed to gain a new perspective on the incredible feats accomplished by the space program. NASA's famous launch headquaters is just 45 minutes from Orlando. Every year, millions of visitors make the trek to this island home of space program technology and unique Florida wildlife.
Kennedy Space Center offers the chance of a lifetime to explore and even train on the very grounds where NASA sends humans, rovers and probes into space. On your journey, you will encounter towering launch pads, huge rockets, interactive exhibits and inspiring space program experiences.
Kennedy Space Center is a full day experience like no other. Meet one of NASA's heroes at Astronaut Encounter, join their slightly askew crew for a Mad Mission to Mars or walk among towering rockets in the Rocket Garden. Explore a life size Space Shuttle moch-up, see a Gemini capsule in Early Space Exploration and even touch a piece of the red Planet. Before you head out to explore giant launch pads on the tour, take in one of the amazing IMAX space films.
Kennedy Space Center Launch Viewing
All expendable vehicles launched in Central Florida begin their journeys on the launch pads of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, located next door to Kennedy Space Center. Launch Transportation Tickets are available for some, but not all, of these launches. Call the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at (321) 449-4444 for information on purchasing tickets.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
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