The main American gateway to the Universe, the Kennedy Space Center is a huge complex, where you are transported into the world of exact sciences and high technologies, dreams and romance, captivating and mysterious, exciting and incomprehensible. It is both an active spaceport at Cape Canaveral, and a training base for astronauts, and a unique museum with a lot of exciting programs for adults and children. It makes sense to devote a whole day (or better – two) to visiting the center, because you will learn about the history of space exploration and promising NASA projects, visit the astronaut hall of fame and walk in the rocket park, “find yourself” in the launch well at the moment of launch and feel yourself an astronaut, land in the descent module thanks to IMAX super technology, visit the spacecraft assembly building and stand on the legendary Pad 39, from where Apollo and Shuttle flew into the black velvet heights.
What to see
The Kennedy Space Center is divided into several thematic zones – Mission Zones. Each of them tells about one or another stage of space exploration in chronological order. The first place visitors enter is the Heroes and Legends space. In the Astronaut Hall of Fame you can learn about the life, fate and personal contributions of American space explorers. The high-tech 4D space, which includes audiovisual and tactile sensations, allows you to literally touch the history of astronautics – from the idea of overcoming the Earth’s gravity to the first flight to uncharted distances. Walking through the rocket park, you’ll see the historic Mercury, Gemini and Apollo rockets, as well as the legendary Mercury-Radstone 3, which carried the first American astronaut, Alan Shepherd, into space.
From history to practice. By joining a guided bus tour of the center’s grounds (included in the ticket price), there is an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at rocket launches. In the spacecraft assembly building you will be told in detail about this crucial process and shown rockets at different stages of assembly. You will also visit historic and currently used launch sites and see the very place where the “lunar” team of astronauts went into space.
For an additional fee at the Space Center, you can visit the Mission Control Center and talk to the Launch Director, the man who has said the sacramental “Launch!” 37 times.
The Apollo-Saturn V Center is dedicated to the U.S. Lunar Program. Here you will see the legendary Apollo capsule that landed astronauts on the Moon and brought them back to Earth. In the 3D Cinema Theater you can “witness” the launch of Apollo 8, and in the Lunar Theater you can hear the historic words “The Eagle has landed…”
In the Apollo Gallery, you can see not only Alan Shepherd’s spacesuit, but also admire real moon dust!
The area dedicated to the shuttle Atlantis will tell you about the large-scale program of manned reusable spacecraft (there is a real shuttle here), and the exposition “NASA – today and in the future” will stun you with the grandiosity of the American space agency’s projects, including a flight to Mars.
Address: 405 Kennedy Space Center, Titusville SR, Florida. Website. The nearest city is Orlando.
Hours of operation daily: March 31-September 1: 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., September 2-December 31: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.