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How to Watch a Rocket Launch at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex


There is nothing quite like it on Earth. Watching a rocket launch from the closest public viewing just a few miles/kilometers away provides a unique perspective on the technology and power required to send spacecraft into Earth’s orbit and beyond. The countdown to liftoff begins with the flash of fire as the rocket engines ignite and seconds later, the rocket soars overhead as the delayed rumble of the engines becomes a roar that vibrates through the landscape and the viewers close enough to feel the effects.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers launch viewing opportunities for rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center and adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Special launch viewing areas are provided for visitors based on safety protocols of the United States Air Force Eastern Test Range, and not all locations are available for every launch. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex may offer any of the following four viewing area options.

The main complex viewing area located next to Space Shuttle Atlantis® is included with daily admission. Three special viewing areas require an additional ticket (prices are subject to change):

  • LC-39 Observation Gantry $50
  • Apollo/Saturn V Center $20
  • NASA Causeway $40

Launch viewing at the main visitor complex is always included with daily admission if the launch takes place during operating hours, but not all special viewing areas are available for every launch. Each special viewing area requires a launch viewing/transportation ticket in addition to daily admission and these areas are accessible only by visitor complex buses. Availability of these locations is different for every launch. The LC-39 Observation Gantry is never available for viewing launches from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39, as the gantry is located inside the restricted safety area for launch operations. The gantry is available for viewing launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The visitor complex does not currently offer any opportunities for launch viewing when the launch time is scheduled significantly outside of operating hours

Rocket Launch

FAQ

How can I purchase tickets?

Launch viewing/transportation tickets, when available, may be purchased online and by calling the reservation office. VIP Launch Viewing will appear as a tab on the ticket page when tickets are available. If you do not see VIP Launch Viewing, tickets are not currently for sale. Daily admission tickets are always available for purchase online.

Call 855.433.4210 or visit https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/info/tickets

How do you access viewing locations?

After arriving and parking at the visitor complex, launch viewing/transportation ticket holders are transported by bus from inside the main visitor complex to special viewing areas at Kennedy Space Center, behind NASA’s gates. Security protocol requires that all ticket holders are transported by visitor complex buses to these secure facilities. Bus boarding for launch viewing/transportation ticket holders begins three hours before the scheduled launch time as it takes time to load and transport ticket holders by bus. 

TIP: Traffic increases closer to launch time, so allow time for parking, entering the complex, security bag search and walking to bus boarding. Arrive early to assure your viewing spot! We cannot offer refunds for late arrivals. 

Returning to the main visitor complex from a special viewing area after a launch or scrub announcement also takes time. All visitors return by bus, which results in longer lines for bus boarding. Please be prepared for longer wait times for all bus boarding and attractions on launch days. Learn more about how to prepare for launch viewing as a visitor.

I don't see a certain launch date on the website?

Only official launch dates are included on the visitor complex event calendar. Official launch dates are confirmed by NASAUnited States Air Force or commercial partners involved in the mission such as SpaceX or United Launch Alliance (ULA). Once launch dates are officially confirmed, the visitor complex may offer special viewing area options for visitors. Ideally, launch viewing/transportation tickets go on sale approximately two weeks before the scheduled launch date. However, launches are scheduled as windows of time, based on many factors required for mission success. These are always subject to change at any time.

Learn more about how launches are scheduled:

What happens when a launch is delayed or scrubbed?

Though Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides launch viewing opportunities, we do not have any control over the actual launch schedule.

  • A launch delay occurs before boarding the bus for the viewing location, and launch viewing/transportation tickets remain valid until that specific mission lifts off, or is indefinitely delayed.
  • A launch scrub occurs during the countdown, and if buses are boarded, launch viewing/transportation tickets are considered used in full as the services covered by the ticket are fulfilled. No matter how many times a particular mission scrubs, it requires support from the visitor complex to provide launch viewing and a ticket is required for viewing each launch attempt.

The circumstances of each launch can affect the actual Launch Scrub Policy.

How can I find out about launch viewing opportunities?

  • Sign up for email notifications about events at the visitor complex, including launch viewing opportunities.
  • Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for launch viewing opportunities and ticket sales updates.
  • Check the visitor complex event calendar for the launch schedule and viewing opportunities
  • Discover how to See A Launch from viewing areas at Kennedy Space Center