Are you ready to take a small step to the stars on your Florida adventure? Located on the east coast of Florida, the Kennedy Space Center is one of the most remarkable and fascinating destinations in the United States.
From the launch pads to the astronaut training facilities, the Kennedy Space Center is full of amazing facts and fascinating stories that will captivate visitors of all ages. In this blog, we will explore some of the histories that make the Kennedy Space Center a great destination to visit.
With over 40 years of experience in the travel industry, Real Florida Adventures has taken hundreds, if not thousands, of visitors to see the site’s awe-inspiring wonders. Our #1 Kennedy Space Center Tour guides you through the cutting edge of space travel and more.
If you’re ready to experience the past, present, and future of space travel, get in touch! We can also help you to meet and chat with an astronaut, who will answer all of your questions about life in space. But, for now, let’s look at some amazing Kennedy Space Center facts.
The History of the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
The Kennedy Space Center has a rich history that dates back to the late 1950s when President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
It was established in 1962 as the Launch Operations Center and was later renamed in honor of President John F. Kennedy, who had set the ambitious goal of landing a man on the Moon before the end of the 1960s.
The KSC played a critical role in the Apollo program, which successfully achieved that goal in 1969 when Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon.
It also served as the launch site for the Space Shuttle program, which operated from 1981 to 2011, and for numerous other NASA missions, including robotic missions to Mars and beyond.
Over the years, the KSC has evolved to meet the changing needs of space exploration. It has undergone extensive renovations and upgrades, including the construction of new launch pads and support facilities.
Blast Off with the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Pads
One of the most impressive things about the Kennedy Space Center is the launch pads.
KSC has three active launch pads: Launch Complex 39A, Launch Complex 39B, and Launch Complex 41. Launch Complex 39A was used for the Apollo missions and the Space Shuttle program and is now used by SpaceX for their Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches.
Launch Complex 39B was also used for the Apollo missions and was modified for the Space Shuttle program, but is now being modified once again for the upcoming Artemis program, which aims to return humans to the Moon. Launch Complex 41 is used by United Launch Alliance (ULA) for their Atlas V launches.
Launch Pad 39A is now leased to SpaceX, which uses it to launch Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Launch Pad 39B is being prepared for NASA’s Space Launch System, which will be used to take astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars.
Astronaut Training at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
The Kennedy Space Center is where astronauts famously train for their missions into space and have done since the 1960s. In the early days of the space program, astronaut training primarily focused on preparing the astronauts for the physical and mental challenges of spaceflight.
The training included high-altitude flights, centrifuge training to simulate the forces of liftoff and reentry and survival training in case of an emergency landing. As the space program evolved and more complex missions were undertaken, the training became more specialized.
For example, in the 1970s, astronauts were trained to operate the Space Shuttle, which required a different set of skills than the Apollo missions.
Another important training facility at KSC is the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF). This facility includes full-size mockups of the Space Shuttle and other spacecraft, which allow astronauts to practice procedures and tasks in a realistic environment.
Today, the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) allows visitors to participate in astronaut training simulations, such as microgravity simulations and mission simulations. The ATX also offers a Mars Base 1 experience, which simulates what it would be like to live and work on Mars.
You Can Explore Mars at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Visitors to the Kennedy Space Center can also see NASA Now, an interactive exhibit that explores NASA’s current missions and the future of space exploration. It includes a scale model of the Mars Rover and an interactive display that allows visitors to design their own spacecraft.
NASA Now also features a “Journey to Mars” exhibit that explores NASA’s plans to send astronauts to Mars in the 2030s. Catch a sneak preview of the red planet mission here with interactive games and replicas of Mars rovers. Perfect for big and small astronauts!
Opening Times at the NASA Kennedy Space Center
Good news visitors! The NASA Kennedy Space Center is open 9 am – 5 pm Monday through Sunday. These times apply January 1 – March 12 2023 and may be subject to change in the busier seasons, so we recommend double-checking the website before you plan your trip.
The last entrance to the visitor complex is at 4pm, so make sure you arrive early in the day with plenty of time to see everything you’d like to.
As you can see, the Kennedy Space Center is still a bustling hub of activity, with multiple launch complexes, processing facilities, and research centers. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a variety of exhibits and tours, including the chance to see actual spacecraft.
If you’re ready to take an out-of-this-world day trip on your Florida vacation, look no further than our #1 Kennedy Space Center Tour. With transportation covered and a professional guide to facilitate your tour, this is Real Florida Adventures’ most popular day trip.
For more information, get in touch with our local team who will be more than happy to help you curate the perfect Florida vacation. Start your trip to the stars today!