Visit the space launch headquarters of NASA, and you may see a shuttle catapulted into the stratosphere!
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is NASA’s space launch headquarters. In 1969, the Apollo 11 took off from here and put the first men on the moon. Unmanned shuttles are still launched regularly, so check ahead to see if your visit coincides with one of these dramatic events.
KSC covers 140,000 acres (56,656 hectares), an area six times the size of Manhattan. Housed in various outlying hangar-like structures are many of the main attractions, including the photographic exhibits depicting the construction and use of the earliest shuttle launch pads.
Your visit starts at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where tour buses depart every 15 minutes. These self-guided tours are included in your admission price, so hop on and off the bus as many times as you like. The highlights you’ll drive by include a space shuttle launch pad. You’ll also stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center to see a moon rocket. Guided tours led by trained space experts are available for an extra fee, and advance reservations are required.
Back at the KSC Visitor Complex, the Rocket Garden is a showcase of the early shuttles that made space exploration possible. Climb aboard more modern models to see the astronauts’ living quarters firsthand. On the Shuttle Launch Experience, interactive simulators provide a virtual trip into space, with veterans of the U.S. space program on hand to discuss your flight when you land.
Travel through time at the United States Astronauts Hall of Fame. You’ll see artifacts and exhibits dedicated to those who first went into space. There’s also a large collection of astronauts’ personal memorabilia.
Talk to a veteran space traveler at Lunch With an Astronaut. Book in advance for this one-hour experience, which is at an extra cost.
Arrive right on opening time at KSC to ensure plenty of time to see the exhibits, take a tour and watch one of the IMAX films, which are included in your admission price. You may want to dedicate a full day to the KSC including a few hours at the U.S. Astronauts Hall of Fame.