Date Visited



  United States of America

Kennedy Space Center



The Kennedy Space Center has been the primary launch centre for the United States human spaceflight programme since 1968. Today it contains a Visitors Complex displaying numerous artefacts related to the exploration of space.


Located in Florida approximately 45 miles from Orlando the Kennedy Space Center has been the primary launch centre for United States human spaceflight programme since 1968. Originally named the Launch Operations Center in July 1962 its name was changed to the Kennedy Space Center in November 1963 following President Kennedy’s assassination.  Covering over 140,000 acres nearly half of which is part of the Canaveral National Seashore. 

Run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the centre contains the facilities for the launch and operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs. 

Apart from the facilities to run these programmes the centre also contains a Visitors Complex which is open to the public and contains exhibits and memorabilia and also houses many historic spacecrafts. It also has daily presentations from veteran NASA astronauts who talk about their experiences.

The centre originally opened for the public in July 1966 with a bus tour.  This progressed to becoming a permanent Visitors Complex in August 1967.

On entry to the centre is the Heroes & Legends building. This houses the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and display of artefacts related to the astronauts. It also has a recreation of the Mercury Control Centre and houses the Gemini 9A spacecraft.  

Just past the Heroes and Legends building is the Rocket Garden, this is an outdoor display area containing a number of the rockets used to put Astronaut and satellites in space. Most of these rockets stand upright whereas the largest rocket, a Saturn IB, is on its side. It was the Saturn IB rockets which launched Apollo Command/Service Modules into orbit around the Earth for Apollo and Skylab.

Walking from the Rocket Park is the Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit building with the Space Shuttle standing stacked in front. This building opened in June 2013, and provides an almost 360-degree view of the shuttle Atlantis positioned with the payload bay doors open

This building also includes a life-sized replica of the Hubble Space Telescope; the Shuttle program's astrovan, which transported the astronauts to the launch pad; the Shuttle prototype from 1969, and numerous astronaut training and Shuttle simulators. It also contains a number of other displays about life in space. Also displayed is the "Forever Remembered" exhibit, commemorating the 14 astronauts lost in both Space Shuttle Challenger and Space Shuttle Columbia disasters. This contains some of the personal artefacts from the astronauts and two recovered pieces of the Shuttles. 

Located some 6 miles from the main visitors’ centre is The Apollo/Saturn V Centre, this is a 100,000-square-foot facility which houses a restored Saturn V launch vehicle and other exhibits related to the Apollo program including  the Apollo 14 command module, which orbited the Moon in 1971; a replica of the Lunar Roving Vehicle; a large cut-away scale model of the Saturn V; the space suits worn by a number of the astronauts and a slice of Moon rock that visitors can touch. Visitors will need to take a bus tour in order to see this building.

Located close by and is able to be visited is the command centre used for Apollo 11, which put Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, on 16 July 1969. 

                     Rocket Park Saturn V   

          Kitty Hawk Command module                              Atlantis                         


To see more photographs and take a virtual tour of the site click on the photoshow below.



              All  Photographs were taken by and are copyright of Ron Gatepain

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