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Space shuttle Discovery at the Kennedy Space Center (2009)

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is a spaceport in Florida, situated west of Cape Canaveral on Merritt Island, and is part of a region known as the "Space Coast", since all of the crewed United States spacecraft are launched from the Space Coast.


The Kennedy Space Center was formed under Marshall Space Flight Center in December 1959. It was known as Launch Operations Directorate. Due to the expansions necessary for crewed Moon landing missions, on 1 July 1962, Launch Operations Directorate became a separate entity known as Launch Operations Center (LOC). Major buildings of LOC's industrial area were designed by architect Charles Luckman.

The LOC was renamed Kennedy Space Center on 29 November 1963 to honor the President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated seven days earlier.

Kennedy Space Center hosted several human spaceflight programs. Apollo 11 was launched on 11 July 1969 from KSC to land two men on the Moon. Skylab, the first space station of the United States, was also launched from KSC in 1973, followed by four crewed missions.

Kennedy Space Center was converted for Space Shuttles in 1970s. The first Shuttle launch took place in 1981 from KSC, followed by 132 successful missions, with two great disasters. The last flight of Space Shuttle was debut in 2011 from KSC.

Most components to build the International Space Station, the current habitable artificial satellite, were launched from KSC, starting from 1998. Those components are manufactured from Space Station Processing Facility in KSC.

Until 2017, rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center were exclusively operated by NASA, a government space agency. Since 2017, rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center are exclusively operated by SpaceX, a private company.

Kennedy Space Center should be distinguished with Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), a military installation operated by United States Space Force (USSF), a military agency.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

  • Courtney Pkwy serves as a main north-south road through Kennedy Space Center complex to SR-A1A/528 in Cape Canaveral near the Cape Canaveral/Cocoa Beach bridge from SR-405 (see below). SR-A1A become SR-528 in Cocoa Beach.
  • to - State Route (SR) 50 is an east-west road connects Titusville (North Brevard) to Orlando. SR-405 goes across Kennedy Space Center as NASA Pkwy which goes towards SR-50 through Titusville via Kennedy Causeway Bridge from the Kennedy Space Center region.
  • (I-95) - runs north south all the way up the east coast of the USA. In Brevard it is west of most developed areas, but a great uncongested way to get from one end of the county to another, or to access major east-west highways. From I-95 go east on SR-50 to 405 from Exit 215 or SR-528 to A1A from Exit 205 to reach the Kennedy Space Center.
  • (U.S. 1) - again, runs all the way up the east coast of the USA. However, this is a busy city road with lots of stoplights and traffic (however, in between the south, central and north areas of the county it is a convenient drive).

Unlike in some other cities, if you don't have a car, an Uber will be willing to take you, even though it is well outside Orlando. Taxis will not take you though.

By bus[edit]

There appears to be no public transportation service to Kennedy Space Center.

However, many companies offer organized bus day tours from the Orlando area to KSC, such as City Sightseeing Orlando[dead link] or Gray Line Orlando


Map of Kennedy Space Center
Saturn V, KSC Visitor Complex
  • 1 Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Just to the west of Orsino on Florida State Road 405, between Range Road and East Avenue SW), toll-free: +1-866-737-5235. Daily 9AM-6PM; some holidays -7PM or -8PM. This busy tourist attraction offers museums, movies, a rocket garden and bus tours of former shuttle preparation and launch facilities. This is an official federal site — however, the visitor complex is run by contractors for a profit, so prices are comparable to private tourist attractions, not a typical national park. Basic admission (a 1 day pass) includes an excellent bus tour (including the complimentary bus tour of Launch Complex 39 and the Apollo/Saturn V Center), the museums (including the exhibit featuring the Space Shuttle Atlantis), and the IMAX movies. Additional special tours or programs should be booked in advance since they sell out quickly. NOTE: this facility may *sometimes* be closed on launch days! 1-day adult $50, children (3-11) $40. Discounts and other passes available. Parking $10. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (Q6389687) on Wikidata Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Wikipedia
  • 2 Apollo/Saturn V Center (Bus services from KSC depart frequently.), +1-866-737-5235. A small center, with detailed history about the Apollo mission. This includes some replica parts about the same size as the real Apollo as well as some of the technologies they used in the old days.
  • Banana Creek Launch Viewing.



Kennedy Space Center's gift shop, is a treasure trove of astronaut autographs.

  • The space shop.
  • The right stuff.


Inside the KSC inner precinct[edit]

  • 1 Orbit Cafe.
  • 2 Milky Way.
  • 3 G-Force Grill.
  • 4 Rocket Garden Cafe.

Outside the main precinct[edit]

  • 5 Moon Rock Cafe. 11AM-5PM. American restaurant with wraps, salads, fajita melts and sandwiches.


There are no bars or pubs on Merritt Island. The nearest may be found at Titusville.


Go next[edit]

Kennedy Space Center is one of a number of preserved and protected areas surrounding Cape Canaveral. Immediately to the east is Cape Canaveral and to the north is the Canaveral National Seashore. The protected areas are used as a buffer zone during rocket launches.

  • Baikonur - The Russian equivalent launch site.
  • Space - KSC is a gateway to low Earth orbit and beyond, although extremely expensive.
    • Moon - People traveled to the Moon from this launch site, although it is discontinued since 1972, with some plans to revive it in 2020s.
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