Doorway to the Universe
Kennedy Space Center is the gateway to space exploration. Based on a rich heritage of overcoming challenges and succeeding, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is an ideal spot to see and even experience some of those challenges first hand.
Located on Florida's east coast, and less than an hour's drive from Orlando, the center makes for an ideal day trip to get away from the theme parks and still have a great time for both those old enough to remember the early days, and those just now forming an impression of America's changing space mission.
Although the shuttle program has ended, visitors to the Kennedy Space Center can still experience what previous astronauts experienced during a shuttle liftoff. Feel the bone-jarring thrust of the shuttle's main engines, the incredible G-force your body feels as your simulator gathers speed to escape Earth's gravitational force. All of this and more at the "Shuttle Launch Experience" a new feature of the Kennedy Space Center.
The future will still involve the Kennedy Space Center. In 2011, it was announced that NASA plans to continue investing in human space exploration and that the Kennedy Space Center will become the newest 21st Century Space Port. The next decade will be a time of redevelopment and renewal, similar to what happened here after the end of the Apollo missions and the beginning of the Shuttle missions.
Seeing first hand
There are several ways to experience the Kennedy Space Center. The massive complex has been scaled into 3 basic visiting options for the millions of tourists that arrive and the space port each year.
General Admission does more than just get you in the front door. With the lowest priced ticket, you get to experience at no additional charge, the Shuttle Launch Experience, all of the IMAX theatre presentations, the Astronauts Memorial, see the famous Launch Complex 39A, experience reliving the Saturn V launch sequence that first sent men to land on the moon and visit the Astronauts Hall of Fame across the Indian River from the Visitor Complex.
The self-paced shuttle bus tours allow visitors to spend as much time as they like at the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. The first bus departs at 10 a.m., with continuous departures until 2:15 p.m.
Besides the General Admission Ticket, you can upgrade that experience by including two special Guided Tours that are narrated by a space program expert who gives the tour facts, in-depth information about locations visited by your tour bus.
Kennedy Space Center:
Today and Tomorrow
The 90-minute Then and Now tour takes visitors past the Space Shuttle Launch Pads A and B, The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), Shuttle Landing Facility, Crawler Transporter and the famous gravel Crawlerway. The 2.5 hour will take you through several restricted areas.
Then and Now
The "Cape Canaveral: Then and Now" tour takes visitors back to what is left of the original Cape Canaveral launch sites, best known for the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. You'll also visit the Air Force Space and Missile Museum
Visitors with Pets
Free kennel service is provided for pet owners. The newly renovated kennels include air conditioning. Kennels are locked and must be opened by a Visitor Complex crew member.
Service animals are permitted throughout all exhibits, presentations and bus tours.
It was announced in April 2011, that the orbiter Atlantis would be a part of a new shuttle complex at the Kennedy Space Center set to open in 2013.