pictured is the launch of space shuttle atlantis after it has dropped it's booster rockets and is down range. it only takes this vehicle several minutes to cover the distance between florida and africa. a must see experience when visiting central florida. see my titusville florida pages for more information. sadly as of 2011 the shuttle program is now history but there are still frequent launches of military and scientific rockets which are worth viewing when in central florida.
I had a great time at the Kennedy Space Center.
We drove out in the hire car from Orlando, which took us about 45 mins, an easy no hassles straight drive.
You'll need to spend all day here to get around to see everything.
We started with the bus tour which dropped you off at three locations on the vast complex. First stop was at the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gallery where you can take a look at the launch pads, the crawler and the Vehicle Assembly Building. Things here are on a huge scale.
The second stop was at Apollo/Saturn V Center where you get a chance to see the brilliant 365 foot moon rocket. It has to be seen to be believed. You also get to see a recreation of a Apollo launch. We had lunch here and tried to think of sensible questions to ask one of the retired space engineers.
Third stop on the tour was at the International Space Station Center, where you can get a close up look at all the things you need to live in space.
After the tour we met a real live astronaut in the shape of Bob Springer. He gave a really interesting talk on what it's like to go into space.
Then it was off to the IMAX theatre to see the moon in 3D.
At the end the day we spent some time in the very decent shop where we bought a few nic nacs for the folks back home. I went for the rather tasteful space shuttle money box along with the obligatory space pen. It can write in space don't you know!
All in all a great place to visit if you want to get away from the rollercoasters. I suppose it depends if rockets and space travel float your boat.
Time needed for the trip
2 -3 hours to do the bus tour and have some lunch
1 hour to take a look at one of IMAX films, of which there are two
3/4 of an hour for the Astronaut Encounter
3/4 of an hour for wandering around the shop
Then you have to take in the Rocket Garden and don't forget the Shuttle Launch Experience
Kennedy Space Center is really huge, we didn’t managed to watch everything for 4 hours, although our driver said it’s not too big and 4 hours is more than enough. They sell tickets the way you can visit the center next day free, and it’s reasonable. You need these two days to if you want to explore everything there. Center includes Visitor complex, international Space Station Center,LC-39 observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V center, US astronaut Hall of Fame. Wee had time only for IMAX Theater and Apollo center.
KSC is just a 45-minute trek from Orlando. It gives visitors an up-close peek at the facilities, where America’s space dreams come true. Apollo Center features an actual rocket that powered astronauts to the moon. We saw “Walking on the moon” 3D. Only 12 have walked on the lunar surface. We were next, but virtual tourists there. It’s very educational and interesting. You feel as if you touch the history of space exploration with all its ups and downs. You can meet and actually come face to face with one of few who has flown in space at astronaut encounter, one can walk through the rocket garden and see rockets from all eras stack up side by side.
Food is expensive there, but the Center is surely worth visiting.
pictured is the launch of the space shuttle atlantis, sept 9 2006. the kennedy space center is about an hour and a half drive from central orlando. if you are fortunate enough to be in central florida during a rocket launch it is an impressive experience. see my titusville florida pages for more information.
For those visitors who are here in October, you might be able to catch the launch of two rockets and Space Shuttle Discovery. Here is the current launch schedule, which is subject to change based on weather and ocean conditions:
Oct. 9 - Atlas 5 launch
Oct. 17 - Delta 2 launch
Oct. 23 - Space Shuttle Discovery
Nov. 2 - Delta 4H
Nov. 7 - Atlas 5
Dec. 6 - Soace Shuttle Atlantis
Just our luck, the launch of the Shuttle Atlantis took place just before we arrived in Florida, but that didn't stop us from visiting the Kennedy Space Center. What a experience...the history of space exploration and all the bells and whistles that go along with being in a place of history. Located on 140,000 acres, the KSC features actual launch pads, space shuttles, galactic spin-offs and a rocket garden with a collection of aerospace originals. One of the amazing things you can see/visit is the actual "mission control" room the launch of Apollo 11...the first launch to place man on the moon.
For the true enthusiast, expect to spend an entire day at the Kennedy Space Center: it is well worth the time if you have a loved one who is interested in aeronautics, engineering or science. It will fascinate them for hours. Current operating hours are from 9:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m.
There are several different levels of admission, and the maximum acess admission which we selected included a tour of the space center, all the IMAX films, exhibits and shows, but also the Astronaut Hall of Fame (you pass this along the way to the Center) for $38 per adult ($28 per child ages 3-11).
A trip to Kennedy Space Center is a nice break from the usual Orlando theme parks. It was amazing seeing the size of the space shuttles and rockets that NASA uses. There are 2 types of tickets that you an purchase, the Standard Access badge and the Maximum Access badge. The SA badge includes the tour of the centre and all the shows at the visitors complex. The MA badge includes all in the SA badge plus a visit to the Astronaut Hall of Fame and use of the simulators. In my opinion, it's only worth getting a MA badge if you have enough time to spend at Kennedy Space Center (eg if you were to drive there yourself). We went with a tour company called Gatortours, we went for the MA tour. They let us stay at the center until 3.45pm, then they had to take us to the Astronauts' Hall of Fame which is located down the road from the vistitors complex, and there were still a lot of shows that we were unable to see. The other tour passengers who had the SA badges got to stay at the visitors complex until 5.15pm.
The center does not allow you to bring food onto the premises, but we got our bottled water through security with no problems. Be aware that the food and drinks sold at the center is expensive, so you may want to have a big breakfast if you're going through a tour company, or if you're driving, then keep some food in the car (you're allowed to re-enter).
They've made a lot of effort here to make a very functional and useful station an attractive prospect to tourists, and their work has not been in vain. There are some astonishing features, and my only regret is that we weren't there to witness an actual space shuttle launch.
There's a number of exhibits, and old vessils to study, and you can also take an informative tour of the grounds. In addition, there are various attractions, such as a 3d mini movie about space travel. An fascinating and educational insight in to space travel is here for your viewing pleasure. :)
Another location that is well worth the drive if you're based in Orlando. Take the tour bus to see the launch pads and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Marvel at the bravery of those guys who entrusted their lives to some heavyweight tinfoil which is what the lunar landing module appears to be made of.
Allow time to see one of the IMAX films. Meet an astronaut - the list goes on and there's much that I still haven't experienced there yet.
On my third visit I said we'd only spend a half day there and drive on down to Cocoa Beach but guess what - we spent a whole day there yet again!
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