Kennedy Space Center is long serving in Florida as the spaceport of America and hosts all the manned spaceflights of the federal governments since the 1960s. It has acquired its name after John F Kennedy, the president who in 1961 declared that an astronaut will be on the moon and will also be back to Earth safely within a decade.
KSC was in the forefront to that bold effort, and eventually, it saw success when Neil Armstrong and his two crewmates of Apollo 11 splashed on July 24, 1969, in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 11 launched all its flights from KSC, and so it did launch from KSC. But the shuttle program end was in July 2011, and it came with huge transformations to the Florida Center to the extent that the employees fell from 15,000 to 8500 employees.
Early years KSC
NASA became functional in October 1958, and after three years the space agency started gearing to put a man on the moon, taking President Kennedy direction of the outline as the goal in his speech on May 25, 1961, to Congress.
This was a great step and required the biggest rocket, the Saturn 5 that was 363 foot tall. Unfortunately, the Cape Canaveral facilities failed to support such a huge rocket stated the NASA reports and thus the officials from the space agency started looking for a new site.
They began acquiring land in 1962 near Merritt Island, and the new facility was known as the LOD, Launch Operations Directorate, and it reported to Alabama NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1962 July, the LOD acquired a new name, Launch Operations Center and was in the same line as other centers of NASA. This new name was given on 1963, 29 Nov, after a week in Dallas when President Kennedy was assassinated.
In 1963, the construction of the Apollo-Saturn facilities started, some are monumental. The Vehicle Assembly Building of KSC measures 525 feet tall by 518 feet wide by 716 feet long. The VAB was completed in the mid-1960s, and even today is the only largest buildings in the world.
The Saturn V 500F rocket rolled out on May 25, 1966, from the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla.
The John F. Kennedy Space Center today is basically a NASA functioning base of operations that has rockets launched and monitored. This is the Apollo space shuttles and moon missions launching site. The secondary function of Kennedy Space Center is a public education facility, featuring displays and exhibits about the space flight and travel history.
After the launch of the NASA Launch Operations Center in 1962 in east Florida, every manned mission departed to space from here. It also was renamed honoring President Kennedy. The facility was the launching site of the Hubble Space Telescope, New Horizons, and the Mars Rover Project.
The Kennedy Space Center is open throughout the year and remains closed only on certain launch days and Christmas. The functional hours are 9 am to 5.30 pm. The Space Center runs many tours, and until 6.30 pm, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame remains open. With admission, the Kennedy Space center tour is allowed, and it takes nearly 2 hours. Besides, there are two guided tours available to visit with an extra fee, Space Center and the Cape Canaveral.
There are numerous exhibits in Kennedy Space Center, and they are dedicated to promoting the understanding of the public and also in appreciating the space flight. These include the IMAX films that are shown to the audience during the rocket launch and visitors can go on with an astronaut on a spacewalk. There are many more interactive exhibits and also the Apollo V Center.
There is a separate facility for the last exhibit holding Saturn V original rocket, and this brings America’s journey story to the moon to life. The other attractions include the encounter with an astronaut that a NASA astronaut answers questions and informs his experiences, while the shuttle launch platform featuring 360-degree shuttle is a memorial to astronauts.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is on State Road 405, to the east of Orlando six miles inside the Kennedy Space Center entrance. From Orlando, take State Road 528 east and to reach Kennedy Space Center follow the signs. From Interstate 95, take exit 215 southbound or exit 212 northbound. Take State Road 3, From Merritt Island or Cocoa Beach.
Facts about Kennedy Space Center
Located in Florida on Merritt Island, the Kennedy space center is a must-see attraction. There is the visitor center, besides the public tours. A few cool facts are:
- The Kennedy Space Center serves as the NASA research and launch facility for its space programs.
- Launch Complex 39 replicates the Apollo 11 historic lunar launch that went to the moon back in 1969.
- Since 1968 this is the launch site for all the U.S. manned space flight.
- The Vehicle Assembly Building is one of its iconic and notable attractions, the fourth-largest structure in the world.
- Most of the area here is restricted, and so only nine percent land is developed, and there is a wildlife sanctuary, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Mosquito Lagoon Indian River and Canaveral National Seashore.
- KSC has several facilities listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- The KSC complex is highly intense area measuring 34 miles long with 6 miles wide, covering 219 square miles.
Internal facts about the John F. Kennedy Center
- The Kennedy Center is on 17 acres, and the architect Edward Durell Stone designed it.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation first in 1958 to dedicate a building to perform arts. President John F Kennedy, few months before his death, signed legislation to expand the cultural center newly designed so that the trustees could be increased and there will be time to raise private funds. Now the Eisenhower Theater is accommodating 1164 people and is known today as President Eisenhower’s, honoring his name.
- The center newly-designated was renamed as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in 1963. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed on January 23, 1964, the bill.
- At the ceremony in December 1964, President Johnson used a gold-plated shovel used for the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials groundbreaking ceremonies.
- The Hall of States displays 50 flags, representing the states. They are hung along the ceiling in an order they enter the union. U.S. territories and there is also the District of Columbia flags displayed.
- The Hall of Nations also has flags displayed. In this grand hall, see flags of all the countries with whom the United States maintains diplomatic relations.
- An impressive 40 feet wide,630 feet long, Grand Foyer, displays 16 Orrefors crystal chandeliers, and each weighs one ton.
- The Concert Hall of this center has more than 2,400 seats.
- The Opera House has 2300 seats, and there is an Austria gift illuminated. It is 50 feet in diameter and contains nearly 2000 light bulbs.
- Every day at 6 pm there are free performances, and you can see many art forms and music types. The other performances spaces are the Family Theater accommodating 324 seats, Theater Lab with 388 seats and Terrace Theater with 490 seats, the south and north plazas and Terrace Gallery.
- Visitors can roam near the River and Roof Terraces to view the city and of Northern Virginia. The highlights include the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Washington Monument, Washington National Cathedral, the Pentagon and Arlington National Cemetery. Boats, kayakers, and other water travelers can be watched going up and down the Potomac River.
- Along the marble walls of the River Terrace, engraved are President Kennedy quotes emphasizing the American cultural arts.
Admission for adults is $50 + tax and for children ages 3-11, it is $40 + tax. Includes the KSC Tour, Apollo/Saturn V Center, Space Shuttle Atlantis, Journey to Mars: Explorers Wanted, IMAX space films, Shuttle Launch Experience, Astronaut Encounter, and all attractions and exhibits. If 15 or more there are group reservations.
Annual Passholders can visit throughout the year to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Annual Passes start for adults at $75 + tax and for children ages 3-11$60 + tax, less than the price of two visits to Kennedy Space Center. Annual passes are available at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex get it online or by phone.
Strollers and Wheelchairs are available, and all exhibits and tours facilitate wheelchair accessibility. The Visitor Complex has complimentary parking and use of pet kennels. In fact, bus parking, First aid, and automated teller machine are available.
The Space Shop in the world is the largest retail store devoted to space-themed merchandise and features over 40,000 items. Guests can order online or by phone.
There are numerous self-service restaurants and specialty food locations offering a variety of menu options. Lunch is available daily with an astronaut at 12:00 p.m. and includes a delicious lunch.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex gives youth programs and kid-friendly vacations for most grades and interests, Overnight Adventures, field trips and Salute to Science.
Telephone: 877-313-2610 or www.KennedySpaceCenter.com