Which NASA tour is the best
Kennedy Space Center - NASA spaceport
Rockets, space shuttles, exhibitions and more. NASA's Kennedy Space Center in the Orlando area is a popular travel destination for those who want to learn more about space travel. Or for those who just want to spend an entertaining day with many attractions and sights. And with a little luck, you can even experience a rocket launch live on the rocket runway at Cape Canaveral.
Table of Contents
What is the Kennedy Space Center? | Where is the Kennedy Space Center located? | Tickets for the Kennedy Space Center | How is the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center structured? | The Kennedy Space Center for tourists
Follow humanity into space at this interactive visitor complex at the Kennedy Space Center. A visit there is definitely worth the trip. The spaceport is about an hour's drive from Orlando and, with its exhibits, is also a popular destination for tours.
Find tickets for the Kennedy Space Center here
What is the Kennedy Space Center?
The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is NASA's spaceport and is located in the state of Florida on Merritt Island, northwest of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. It is the place where all US manned space flights took off from December 1968 to July 2011. Initially, these were the famous Apollo missions and, from 1981, the space shuttles, some of which landed again at this location in Florida. With over 17,000 employees, it represents an immense economic factor for this region of Florida today. Whether lunar rocket, space suit, space films or various achievements in space travel, the KSC has a lot to offer.
Where is the Kennedy Space Center located?
The Kennedy Space Center visitor center is located in central Florida on the Atlantic coast, not far from Orlando and Daytona Beach. The site itself is 55 kilometers long and 10 kilometers wide and thus covers an area of around 567 square kilometers. The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) facilities are located on the peninsula southeast of the site. This is where satellites are launched, and this was where the United States' manned space missions began until 1968.
Tickets to the Kennedy Space Center
Tickets for the Kennedy Space Center can be found at www.getyourguide.de.
How is the grounds of the Kennedy Space Center structured?
The Kennedy Space Center consists of four areas, many of which are closed to the public for security reasons. This contributes to the fact that many protected animal species have found a safe home here. To protect these animals, the northern tip of the island has been designated as the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The KSC visitor center is located in front of the actual complex, which consists of the KSC Industrial Area, the Launch Complex 39 with two launch ramps, the Orbiter Processing Facility (OPF) and the Shuttle Landing Facility.
The launch pads LC-39A and LC-39B are 2.7 kilometers apart. The LC-39-B launch pad was no longer available for flights in the final phase of the shuttle program. Today the LC-39A launch pad is used as a launch pad for Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. From the launch site LC-39B, flights of the Space Launch System are to start in the future.
The Kennedy Space Center for tourists
The Kennedy Space Center encompasses all of the US space programs and missions such as Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and more. Here, visitors have the opportunity to see behind the scenes and, in some cases, to enter the spaceports, which are normally not accessible. The Kennedy Space Center's visitor center is divided into different Mission Zones, which are structured chronologically and range from the beginnings of American space travel to today's attractions.
Here you can admire, among other things, the capsule of the Apollo 14 moon mission, which returned from heaven to earth in 1971. The space suit of Alan Shepard, the commanding officer of the Apollo, is also on display here, covered in moondust. But also one or the other other landing capsule or launch pad can be visited here. And if you want, you can even go on a space walk in the simulator for entertainment. Around 1.5 million visitors from all over the world come to the Kennedy Space Center every year to take a look behind the scenes at NASA, which makes the KSC an important economic factor for Florida.
The individual mission zones in the NASA visitor center
The Kennedy Space Center's greatest attractions
Would you like to walk in the footsteps of the astronauts during your trip in the state of Florida and experience the place where the mission to the moon began? Then the NASA visitor center is the perfect place for it. We have put together the sights for you here that you should definitely not miss on a day trip to the spaceport. For example, the area can be perfectly integrated into a round trip if you are already in the corner and, for example, visiting the city of Orlando.
Heroes & Legends
The countdown to the launch of the first rockets inspired a nation to reach for the stars. Discover what it means to be a hero in the Heroes & Legends room. The US Astronaut Hall of Fame® presented by Boeing® tells the stories of NASA's space pioneers. You can stroll through the Rocket Garden here and appreciate the technology that ultimately brought the astronauts to the moon. In the Rocket Garden there is an open-air exhibition with discarded space rockets. There are historical rockets from different generations that allow an excellent introduction to the history of space travel here in the open air.
Apollo / Saturn V Center: Race To The Moon
There are moments in American history that will remain unforgettable. One of them is the Apollo moon mission, which moves into the center of the action in this section. The Apollo / Saturn V Center pays homage to the people and machines who made the unbelievable possible and achieved something with the moon missions that mankind never dared to dream of. Here you can visit the gigantic Saturn V moon rocket, among other things. It's the biggest rocket that ever flew. In addition, there are interactive and appealing exhibits from the Apollo era and a simulated control center allows you to experience what mankind felt when astronauts in their space suits landed on the moon for the first time during a moon mission with the moon rocket.
The Saturn V rocket is the type of rocket that once brought humans into space. Here on the Florida site you can walk under the giant Saturn V launcher and experience how big this colossus really is and empathize with how much power it takes to bring spaceships and more into space. At 18 meters high and 111 meters long, the rocket is higher than the Statue of Liberty. The rocket in the exhibition on the Florida site is not a replica, but one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets in the United States. The rocket tour is only available during the Kennedy Space Center bus tour.
And if you want, you can even touch real moon rocks behind a pane of glass in the building. This is only a comparatively small piece of moon rock, but nonetheless it is a great opportunity to touch the moon once in a lifetime thanks to the original moon rock. The Apollo 11 landing capsule is also on display here.
Relive the moon landing in the Lunar Theater
Millions of people held their breath when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon for the first time in human history in the late 1960s. In the Lunar Theater you can see on the screen and feel how people fared when the following words were spoken from the surface of the moon when the moon landed: "Houston, Tranquility Base her ... the Eagle is landed".
With the help of 3D cinema elements, original NASA footage and other recordings, you can relive the events of that historic day in July 1969 in the Lunar Theater. That moon landing day was also the day on which Neil Armstrong uttered the legendary words: “That's one small step for a man ... one ... giant leap for mankind“(That's a small step for man ... a ... giant leap for mankind) spoke. The performance lasts ten minutes.
NASA’S SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM
The space shuttle is a spaceship like no other and is one of the great achievements in space travel. It is a space shuttle that took off like a rocket into the sky and landed like a glider and transported astronauts into space and back again for thirty years. One of the best known is probably the Discovery. This American icon takes center stage in this area. You can tour the Space Shuttle Atlantis®, learn more about the shuttle missions that secured the future of the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. It's an interactive area where you can learn how to dock and land the shuttle with the help of simulators. An absolute highlight is the Shuttle Launch Experience®, where you can feel in detail what forces act on the body when a space shuttle starts. A real experience!
The entrance to the home of the space shuttle Atlantis is hard to miss and the space shuttle itself offers an unforgettable experience. Because the interesting exhibition of the space shuttle is designed in such a way that Atlantis is shown in a form as it was seen by the astronauts while flying in space. It is one of three space shuttles on display in the United States.
NASA Now + Next
The Apollo mission is long history and the moon is no longer unknown after several moon landings. But everything that is outside of our earth is far from being explored. In the NASA Now + Next area, the current and future missions of NASA are in the foreground and you can get an insight into the science of the current missions to the International Space Station (ISS) and the upcoming missions to explore space.
Space films give unforgettable insights
Do you love IMAX cinemas? Then you will surely get your money's worth in the Kennedy Space Center. Because here are the only adjacent IMAX cinemas in the world. The screens are five stories high and a visit to the space films is already included in the entrance fee.
One of these space films is "Journey to Space 3D", which shows NASA's plans for the future and also takes a look back. Other space films are “A Beautiful Planet 3D”, in which you can see the earth from the perspective of an astronaut in the IMAX cinema. Or take a trip to Mars with “Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted”.
In the Mission Zone Nasa Now + Next you will also have the opportunity to view the spacecraft with which the astronauts are setting off into space today.
Danger: The IMAX cinema is currently being renovated. “Journey to Mars” is therefore currently not shown in the IMAX cinema, but on the area behind the Space Shuttle Atlantis®. The film lasts about an hour. It is best to see the program when you arrive for the exact times.
Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour
In the Mission Zone Behind the Gates, visitors can enter the areas of the Kennedy Space Center that are closed to visitors in an air-conditioned coach. This is where space travel is located, the place where America took off to the moon, and the place where NASA plans to send astronauts into space. During the guided bus tour, you can view exclusive areas such as the 39B launch complex, the control center, one or the other launch pad for space flights or the vehicle assembly building up close, and during the bus tour you will learn more about NASA and space exploration from experts.
Among other things, the memorial for the crew of Apollo 1 can be seen, which once burned in its capsule on the launch pad. The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is absolutely impressive. With a height of 160 meters, the Vehicle Assembly Building is one of the largest halls in the world and the place where the Saturn V moon rocket was assembled. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take a look inside the building in which the Saturn rockets for the space missions were assembled vertically. The Shuttle Landing Facility, which serves as the runway for the US space shuttle, is located approximately 3.2 kilometers northwest of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB).
Fly with an astronaut
With “Fly with an Astronaut” you can tour NASA's Kennedy Space Center with an experienced astronaut as a guide. On this activity you are part of a small group and with an experienced space explorer at your side, you can tour the birthplace of the American space program, the Space Shuttle Atlantis® and many other achievements. The Shuttle Launch Experience® offers an interactive flight experience. The program also includes the bus tour and a private lunch with the astronaut and their small group. A great autographed photo from your astronaut guide included.
tip: The best way to plan your day trip to the Kennedy Space Center is with the Kennedy Space Center Official Guide App so that you don't miss any exciting attractions.
Dates for rocket launches and other events
From time to time it is possible to witness live rocket launches in the Kennedy Space Center. Rocket launch dates can be found on the Kennedy Space Center website. In addition to rocket launches, the Kennedy Space Center can, for example, experience astronauts live on set dates. You can usually observe the rocket launches in front of the Space Shuttle Atlantis® in front of the main complex. If you want to visit one of the special viewpoints, you have to pay an additional fee.
Tours of the Kennedy Space Center
In addition to the bus tour, other guided tours are offered in the Kennedy Space Center. The tours are divided into groups for teenagers, students, adults and seniors.
Special offers in the NASA Visitor Complex
In addition to its museum and many other attractions, the Kennedy Space Center also has some very special offers to offer, which are:
- Launch Director Tour of Space Shuttle Atlantis®: During the Launch Director Tour of the Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Mike Leinbach brings you closer to the incredible era of the Space Shuttles in NASA history. You can tour the space shuttle Atlantis with him during this activity and learn more about the risks and benefits of the space shuttle program. The tour begins on the Space Shuttle Atlantis®, continues with the Shuttle Launch Experience® and finally takes you to the “Forever Remembered” memorial, which honors the astronauts who participated in the space shuttle missions STS-51L Challenger and STS-107 Columbia lost their lives. There is also a digital photo with Mike Leinbach's autograph. Tip: do not wear a green shirt when you visit. Because the picture is shot in front of a green screen.
- Astronaut appearance: Every day, visitors have the opportunity to meet a NASA astronaut at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. In the event calendar you can see when which retired astronaut can be found at the Astronaut Encounter, whose lecture you can listen to. Here you can get rid of questions that you've always wanted to ask, such as what it feels like to be in space in a spacesuit. The meeting with the astronaut is included in the entrance fee.
- Dine with an astronaut: This exclusive offer gives you the opportunity to enjoy a buffet and experience common astronaut traditions. This includes, for example, training in the T-38 jet, a visit to the Astronaut Beach House and staying in the crew's quarters before take-off. The respective gastastronaut will share his experiences with you during the first flight, tell you how he felt during the take-off and what it really is like to live in space. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and take a photo with the astronaut.
- Cape Canaveral Early Space Tour: America's space program began at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. This historical military installation and museum can be viewed by visitors as part of a guided tour. This includes the Air Force Space & Missile Museum, the Mercury 7 Monument and the Launch Complex 34, the memorial for the crew of Apollo 1. The tour is only possible from Wednesday to Sunday and registration at the information center is required.
- Behind the Gates at Kennedy Space Center: On this discovery tour you will drive through the American spaceport with a space expert. The tour takes visitors beyond the normal bus tour and gives you the opportunity to snap photos at multiple stops.
- Cape Canaveral’s Rise to Space Tour: This special-interest tour gives you the opportunity to view restricted and historical areas of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and learn more about the United States Air Force and the early American space program.You can see historical launch sites, visit the Sands Space History Center and Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, and explore Hangar C during the tour. It is a very extensive tour that can take up to 4.5 hours.
- Astronaut Training Experience (ATX): In the Astronaut Training Experience® you can train on the simulator like the next generation of space explorers. The attraction, together with the accompanying program Mars Base 1, will take you to Mars using simulation technology, where you can take a space walk, among other things.
Food at the Kennedy Space Center
The following cafés and restaurants in the NASA visitor center also cater for physical well-being:
- Rocket Garden Cafe
- Moon Rock Cafe
- Orbit Cafe
- Red Rock Grill
- Milky Way
- Rocket Fuel Food Truck
Shopping at the Kennedy Space Center
What would a trip to the space center be without souvenirs. In the Space Shop you can purchase debris from meteorites, patches, books, models of space shuttles, T-shirts and much more.
Day, multi-day and annual tickets are available for the Kennedy Space Center.
The following admission prices apply.
Adult (12 years and older): $ 57
Child (3 years and older): $ 47
Adult (12 years and older): $ 96
Child (3 years and older): $ 78
It is advisable to buy tickets online in advance. You can print out these tickets and use them to enter the visitor center directly. If you want to take part in a special interest tour, you should definitely reserve your ticket in advance, as experience has shown that they sell out quickly.
- January 6th to March 22nd: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- March 23 to April 19: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- April 20 to June 28: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- June 29th to August 9th: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- August 10 to December 20: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- December 21 to December 24: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- December 25: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- December 26th to December 31st: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- January 1st to January 3rd: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
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- Merritt Island, FL 32953
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