On the East coast of Florida, sitting right along the Atlantic Ocean, there is a destination that is dedicated to the exploration of space. Cape Canaveral, Florida has been the site of some of the most iconic moments in space exploration history.
Known formally as Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral has been the primary launch site for NASA since 1968. While tourists are able to visit this facility, the question is why? What makes Kennedy Space Centre the go-to destination for those with at least a passing interest in space travel? I spoke with JustFly, an online travel agency, to find out what draws people to Cape Canaveral.
The Kennedy Space Centre, or KSC, consists of over 700 facilities spread across its over 144,000 acre footprint. This includes the 525 foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building, which is used to stack and build NASA’s largest rockets, The Operations And Checkout Building, which houses the astronauts, and the three mile long Shuttle Landing Facility.
In terms of legacy, people often visit KSC to learn more about the Apollo Program according to JustFly’s review. The Apollo Program ran from 1967 to 1973, comprising of 13 Saturn V launches. This includes all 10 Apollo missions beyond Apollo 7. The most famous of these flights is, of course, Apollo 11. Launching July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 was the first manned mission to the Moon’s surface, representing the first human presence on the Moon. Another mission, Apollo 13, is also of keen interest to tourists. This launch is memorable due to the nature of the mission, which went horribly wrong. Launching on April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 returned to Earth April 17, 1970 despite numerous issues, including limited power, loss of cabin heat, little water, and numerous critical in-flight repairs.
As for what visitors can expect to see, The KSC Visitor Centre features an unobstructed view of Launch Complex 39, the Astronaut Hall Of Fame, and the Apollo/Saturn V Centre. The highlight according to JustFly is the Apollo/Saturn V Centre. Built around a restored, and full size, Saturn V launch vehicle, the centre features an Apollo Capsule, and various space-related, interactive exhibits. Other highlights include memorials for fallen astronauts, a Gemini 9A spacecraft, recreations of control rooms, and the Rocket Garden. The Rocket Garden is likely exactly what you are picturing, which is a walkable area that features rockets you can walk around and check out at your leisure.