The home of America's space programme since 1949 NASA Kennedy Space Centre is situated between Cocoa Beach and Titusville on the east coast. The NASA Kennedy Space Centre or KSC covers an area of 500 sq. km. or 190 sq. miles. It is a good idea to allot a full day for KSC visit - see their interactive map to get a feel for what's on offer!.
The repeated and reported budget cuts at NASA have had their effect and they have started charging Admission fee. The tickets can be purchased to visit either the KSC Visitor Complex or the Astronaut Hall of Fame or both. The redeeming feature is that many attractions for which you had to pay for separately when the admission was free, are now included in the ticket. The bus tour to Apollo/Saturn V Centre is included in the price of KSC Visitor Complex Admission ticket. However, there are 2 other bus tours, which are not included in the ticket price. It is a good idea to buy the tickets in advance as strangely the seats are limited.
US Astronaut Hall of Fame:
This exhibit contains very rare articles including personal memorabilia of the US astronauts. Where else can one view the Apollo 14 Command Module or Wally Schirra's Sigma 7 Mercury Spacecraft? There are realistic astronaut training simulators and you can play a bit of James Bond in the G-Force Trainer, although the G-Force is limited to 4 times the gravity. You can also ride a rover across rocky Martian terrain, land the Space Shuttle, or simply take a weightless walk on the moon.
Kennedy Space Centre Visitor Complex:
The KSC Visitor Complex is housed in Spaceport USA. It comprises the Astronaut Memorial, Space Shuttle Plaza, Rocket Garden, Apollo/Saturn V Centre and the inevitable IMAX® cinemas - not one, but two.
It is a very sombre memorial to the astronauts who gave up their life while participating in the space programme. The visitor count is over 20 million since its opening in 1991. There is a Space Mirror constructed by the Astronaut Memorial Foundation and was funded by Florida residents who purchased special commemorative Challenger car licence plates. During the day, there is also a chance that you will run into one of the NASA astronauts.
Space Shuttle Plaza:
The plaza of the Visitor Complex contains a full size replica of a space shuttle ready for launch with the solid booster rockets and the massive centre fuel tank.
This is the place where they grow all the rockets that America launches into space. Even though outdated, the first American Rockets like Redstone, Atlas, and Titan have been allowed to grow for display. They have replicas of the cramped Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Capsules -- on which Americans first went into space. You are even allowed to climb into these capsule replicas.
There are at present two films running at the cinemas. Both are considered box office hits as they have been on for several months now. The first, narrated by Walter Cronkite, details living and working in space, is called "The Dream is Alive" and was filmed by space shuttle astronauts. The construction of the International Space Station (ISS) located 200 miles above Earth is captured in the new 3D film "Space Station 3D" narrated by ... (if you guessed Tom Hanks, sorry) ... Tom Cruise.
Kennedy Space Centre Tour:
The trip to Apollo/Saturn V Centre and LC-39 Observation Gantry are included in the admission ticket. The 2 giant Shuttle Launch Pads 39A and 39B are a spectacular sight from the top of 60 foot tall Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry. You get a 360 degree view of the Launch Control Centre, the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the crawlerway through which the Shuttles are brought on to the launch pads.
The Apollo/Saturn V Centre details the history of the Apollo Moon landing programme. They have placed a complete Saturn V launch vehicle, an Apollo capsule/lander, and a lunar rover in there.
NASA Up Close Guided Tour:
A behind the scenes bus tour of the NASA complex taking you through the NASA headquarters, Shuttle launch pads, VAB and Crawler Transporters and the International Space Station (ISS) Centre. At the ISS Centre, there is an elevated observation room from which you can see the actual processing bay, where space station components are checked, processed, and kept ready to be transported via the space shuttles. A walk-through full-scale mock-up of the Habitation Module of the ISS is available to get a taste of the life in the ISS.
Cape Canaveral: Then and Now Guided Tour:
This historic launch sites from where the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programmes were launched are visited in the Cape Canaveral : Then and Now Tour. The tour also includes a visit to the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, the launch complex where Alan Shepard lifted off on America's first human spaceflight, and Apollo Launch Pad 34, the site of the tragic Apollo 1 fire.