Kennedy Space Centre, Orlando
Located outside the main gate of the Kennedy Space Centre is the Space Shuttle Explorer. Beside the Explorer is the Launch Status Center, where visitors receive live briefings on NASA launch and space flight activity. Guides provide excellent information about the Space Shuttle program during the day.
Daily briefings at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 4:30 p.m., and 5:00 p.m.
The shuttle launch pad, officially known as Launch Complex (LC) 39 Pads A and B are the last steps in the process of preparing a shuttle mission into space. The pads have supported NASA in many of its vehicles: Apollo/Saturn V, Skylab, Apollo-Soyuz and the Space Shuttle.
The tower stands 347 from ground level to the tip of the lighting mast, which itself is 80 feet tall and grounds the Pad from potential weather hazards. An important floor on the structure is the 195th, which is the point where the astronauts enter the orbiter. At the far end of the level is the Emergency Egress System which is a rapid escape system for any crew on that floor during an emergency. On the same level, the Orbiter Access Arm allows astronauts and support crew to enter the shuttle while it is on the pad. Other arms on the structure feed fuel into the External Tank and helps vent excess gas.
As part of your entry you should purchase the "acess all areas pass." This will allow you to board the busses that ferry you around the restricted areas of the Kennedy Space Centre.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center was built as a tribute to the Apollo Astronauts and the machines that got them there. The simulated take off room is the most amazing thing I have experienced and when it is over, you are allowed into the Apollo/Saturn V Center which features all you ever wanted to know about the Apollo program and landing on the moon.
This experience will blow your mind!
Engineered to handle the awesome power of Saturn liftoffs, a 525-foot high structure was built to assemble the mammoth boosters. This structure, now tagged the Vehicle Assembly Building, towered above the Florida landscape. It was capable of erecting four of the monstrous Saturn V boosters simultaneously. To move a fully stacked Saturn V to its launch pad, a giant diesel-powered crawler transporter would lumber across a specially-built roadway. A Launch Control Center served as the brains of the Moonport, directing mission support, fuel loading, and launch of the powerful Saturn launch vehicles.
The Solid Booster Rockets are also located outside of the main gates.
The two SRBs provide the main thrust to lift the space shuttle off the pad and up to an altitude of about 150,000 feet, or 24 nautical miles.
Each booster has a thrust of approximately 3,300,000 pounds at launch. They are ignited after the three space shuttle main engines' thrust level is verified. The two SRBs provide 71.4 percent of the thrust at lift- off and during first-stage ascent.
While touring the Apollo/Saturn V Center you will come accross the entire Saturn rocket laid out in front of you. I was amazed at how large the was and just how small and cramped the command module is.
As part of the Apollo/Saturn V Center exhibit you will come accross the space suit that was worn by the astronauts. Standing beside the suit is a very informative guide who will answer any questions that you may have in relation to any part of the centre.
The most common question....How do they go to the toilet?
The answer....A type of space nappy!!!!
NOW YOU KNOW!
The Kennedy Space Center is situated on Florida's central Atlantic coast, carved out of savanna and marsh in the early 1960s. Determined as ideal for launchings and landings, Kennedy's "space coast" real estate evolved from a sandy strip 34 miles long and five to 10 miles wide on Florida's east cost, midway between Jacksonville and Miami.
This is an excellent "MUST DO" for all visitors to Orlando, even if you are not a "space nut." The insite into this technology and the shear determination of mankind will "Blow you away"
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
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.
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.
Oh, SO happy that we went to the Kennedy Space Center. We got there a little late in the day, so we could only check out the exhibits and see an IMAX film, but oh... it was such a great decision to go!
If we'd gotten there earlier, we would have signed up for the tour of launch pads, the crawler, etc. Soooo cool.
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).
There is so much to see here for a space nut but don't let it put you off if your not.
I went on a launch day which is truly spectacular but the whole story of space exploration is fascinating.
The complex is in a conservation area full of wildlife such as alligators, armadillos and raccoons. The space centre has lots of interactive shows, a rocket garden, an original Apollo space craft and much more. You will probably at least see an astronaut there and can even dine with one.
The shop sells unusually high quality goods and the staff were all friendly and helpfull.
I would like to dedicate this tip to the crew of space shuttle Columbia on flight STS 107 who launched on the day of my visit and tragically lost there lives on February 1st 2003.
To see part of history like this is a chance of a lifetime. Dont miss it.
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.