The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is NASA’s headquarters for the space program. It is located at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral on the island of Merritt Island in Florida. Kennedy Space Center covers over 56,000 acres, an area six times larger than Manhattan.
NASA was founded in July 1958 and was put into operation three months later. After three years, the organization began planning to send a man to the moon.
To be able to carry out that plan, a very powerful rocket would be required. Saturn V was to be built but the former facilities at Cape Canaveral could not support such a huge vehicle. They began searching for a suitable place for the launch.
In 1962, they began acquiring land on nearby Merritt Island.
The new facility was originally named Launch Operations Directory (LOD) and reported to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.
The building was designed by architect Charles Luckman and built in 1965. The inauguration of KSC was in 1966.
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has hosted all of the federal government’s manned spaceflights since the late 1960s.
The KSC is named after John F. Kennedy, who was the president who declared in 1961 that the United States would put an astronaut on the moon, and bring that person safely back to Earth, before the end of the decade.
Apollo 11 was launched from KSC, as were all launches in the Apollo program after that.
There are photo exhibitions showing how the first launch ramps were built and used. The earliest space shuttles are displayed in the KSC Visitor Complex. You can board one of the more modern models to see for yourself how the astronauts live during their space travel.
From the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, tour buses depart every 15 minutes. During these tours, which are included in the entry fee, you get to guide yourself around. You can hop on and off the buses as many times as you want.
The buses stop at the launch pad for space shuttles. They also stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where you can see a moonrocket. If you want a guided tour led by trained space experts, you have to pay an extra fee and you need to book it in advance. You can also book an hour’s Lunch With an Astronaut in advance for a fee.
The United States Astronauts Hall of Fame has exhibits and objects associated with the first humans that traveled into space.
The Shuttle Launch Experience gives you a virtual tour of space with interactive simulators. Afterwards, you can discuss the flight with veterans from the US space program.
KSC has over 1.5 million visitors each year. It is one of Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open year-round, seven days a week. The Visitor Complex opens at 9 am and closing time varies per season. Admission is $57 + tax for adults and $47 + tax for children ages 3-11.
The Space Shop in KCS is the largest store in the world that deals with space-themed items with more than 40,000 items.
In 1995, they started to rebuild and improve the facility.
The shuttle programs were discontinued in July 2011 and this led to major changes in the city as the workforce was reduced to 8,500 employees from 15,000 approximately 15 years earlier.