Explore The Kennedy Space Center By Video!
Kennedy Space Center Overview:
Exploring the Wonders of the Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center, the epicenter of American space exploration, is a gem that shines brightly in the crown of Florida’s many attractions. Named after President John F. Kennedy, who spearheaded America’s quest to put a man on the moon, this sprawling complex is more than just a NASA facility – it’s a testament to human ingenuity, a shrine to scientific achievement, and a beacon of inspiration for space enthusiasts around the globe.
History and Construction
The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) came into being as a result of the space race during the Cold War. In 1961, NASA announced plans to build a launch site to support the Apollo lunar landing program. The construction began in November 1962 on Merritt Island, Florida, adjacent to Cape Canaveral, a site already steeped in rocket launching history.
The space center was named the “Launch Operations Center” until 1963 when it was renamed in honor of President Kennedy, who had been assassinated that year. Kennedy had famously challenged the nation in 1961 to land a man on the moon and bring him safely back to Earth by the end of the decade, and the space center that bore his name would be instrumental in achieving that goal.
Things to See
1. Visitor Complex: No visit to the Kennedy Space Center would be complete without a stop at the Visitor Complex. It houses a range of exhibits, displays, historic spacecraft and memorabilia, two IMAX theaters, and a range of bus tours of the spaceport.
2. Rocket Garden: The Rocket Garden is a must-see. It’s an outdoor display of historic rockets that have propelled astronauts into space. Here, visitors can walk among giants and marvel at the engineering feats of the past.
3. Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit: This exhibit showcases the orbiter Atlantis, one of NASA’s retired space shuttles. The display is dramatic, with the shuttle seeming to float in mid-air. Interactive exhibits around the shuttle focus on the history and legacy of the space shuttle program.
4. Apollo/Saturn V Center: This center pays tribute to the Apollo astronauts who journeyed to the moon. The centerpiece is a restored Saturn V launch vehicle, the largest rocket ever made and one of three remaining in the world. Other exhibits include an Apollo capsule and a lunar module.
Highly Recommended Attractions
1. The Bus Tour: This tour takes you close to the launch pads and gives an overview of the history of the space center. It culminates at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. It’s a must-do to get a sense of the scale of the facilities used to launch rockets.
2. Space Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit: This display is simply awe-inspiring. Standing beneath the Atlantis, you can get a sense of the complexity and the magnitude of the engineering challenges NASA overcame in the Space Shuttle program.
3. Astronaut Encounter: Here, visitors can meet a veteran NASA astronaut. It’s a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about the experiences of traveling to and living in space.
4. Launch Experience: The Shuttle Launch Experience is a simulation ride overseen by veteran NASA astronauts. It provides a taste of what space shuttle astronauts experienced during their launches.
The Kennedy Space Center is a world of wonder and inspiration. It is a place where history was made and the future of space exploration is being forged. Whether you’re a space enthusiast, a student, or just curious, KSC offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of America’s space program.