Worth the Drive: Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex
Discover America’s original space port from where the exploration of the heavens started and from where the future of our space travels will begin once again
Discover America’s original spaceport from where the exploration of the heavens started and from where the future of our space travels will begin once again
Earth is our home, but since people began understanding that we were but a mere speck of dust in the vast universe, we have also sought to leave its surface to see what else is out there. Back in the early 1960’s the U.S. Government began its race to space with the Soviet Union, as an extension of the ongoing Cold War. Florida presented a great opportunity for the recently-created National Aeronautics and Space Administration—better known by its acronym, NASA. The quiet coastline of Cape Canaveral, in Merritt Island, offered NASA the opportunity of developing a home base in its pristine land, surrounded by wildlife preserves and natural barriers to keep people at a safe distance—and that’s why this location was ultimately picked.
First christened as NASA’s Launch Operations Center, it was later named Kennedy Space Center after President John F. Kennedy, who inspired America to reach for the moon and beyond. KSC, as it is known, became the springboard for many space programs, starting with the Mercury and Gemini missions, then the Apollo moon missions, and the Space Shuttle missions until NASA retired the remaining fleet of shuttles in 2011. However, with an existing facility and a popular KSC Visitors’ Complex, it didn’t take long for the growing private space industry to take notice of the advantages of reusing existing facilities to launch the next generation of space programs—including those of Space-X, Blue Horizon, and even new NASA manned missions to the Moon and Mars.
Today, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex continues to welcome people from all over the world who want to see where it all began—and in some cases, they may get to see an actual rocket launch. The complex has a space museum, IMAX movies and plenty of entertainment and shopping for the astronaut in all of us. In addition, there are tours you can take that will bring you face to face with launch pads currently in use. The space program continues to live on and draws from the next generation of scientists, astronauts and other aerospace professionals who keep the dream of going into the stars alive and with much promise for decades to come.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is located just 60 miles east of Vista Cay Resort by Millenium, accessible via the S.R. 528 “Beachline” (please know this is a toll-road) and it is the perfect place for a day trip with the family. So the next time you visit Orlando, be sure to plan ahead a trip to Kennedy Space Center for an experience that is truly out of this world.