A new era of space exploration is launching from the Space Coast of Florida! NASA has joined commercial partners like Boeing, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance for the Commercial Crew Program. This program will once again send men and women into space from American soil— for the first time since the conclusion of the Space Shuttle Program. With the increased public interest comes a new way to watch rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Here is some information on how you can watch a rocket launch as we prepare for these next steps.
How can I watch a launch from the visitor complex?
There are three ways to watch a rocket launch, depending on the time of the launch, which launch pad is being used and the visitor complex hours of operation:
- Daily Admission – some viewing is included with daily admission
- Launch Transportation Tickets (LTTs) – if available, sold in addition to daily admission
- Rocket Launch Packages – includes daily admission and special inclusions for larger-scale or milestone launches
Regardless of the mission, we may offer any of the following viewing areas for a rocket launch attempt:
- LC-39 Observation Gantry
- Banana Creek Launch Viewing Area (adjacent to the Apollo/Saturn V Center)
- The main visitor complex, next to Space Shuttle Atlantis
If you want to watch a rocket launch from any of these locations, they may become available through Launch Transportation Tickets or a launch viewing package for larger events like the upcoming Commercial Crew Program launches.
What is the difference between launch viewing tickets and packages?
You may notice that the visitor complex offers Launch Transportation Tickets or launch viewing packages for different launches. Whether launch viewing is made available through a ticket or a package is decided by the visitor complex based on the scale of the launch and the anticipated public interest. As this multiuser spaceport continues to test and launch new rockets and spacecraft (such as Boeing’s Starliner CST-100 or SpaceX’s Crew Dragon), guest attendance increases for launches. Therefore, the visitor complex now offers launch viewing packages to view these milestone launches.
Launch viewing packages bundle admission, launch viewing locations and other commemorative perks specific to each launch. The packages are sold ahead of time as early as possible, and are required for visitor complex admission the day of the launch. Other forms of daily admission cannot be redeemed on the launch day when packages are offered. This helps the visitor complex manage the anticipated larger crowds and to enhance the guest experience for these milestone launches.
For other rocket launches, such as communication satellites or International Space Station resupply missions, the visitor complex offers Launch Transportation Tickets (LTTs). While these launches are by no means routine or less important, they historically do not attract as large of a crowd as they have more privatized missions. Therefore, tickets for these launches are available in addition to daily admission and may be purchased ahead of time or day-of if the viewing locations are not sold out.
Things to Remember:
Arrive early on launch days!
Traffic increases closer to launch time, so allow time for parking, entering the complex, security bag search and walking to bus boarding. Please be prepared for longer wait times for all bus boarding or tours, and attractions on launch days as many wish to come out and see a launch too!
Only official launch dates are included on the visitor complex event calendar
Official launch dates are confirmed by NASA, United 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 determines special viewing area options for visitors.
Not every viewing location is available for every launch.
Special launch viewing areas are provided based on the safety protocols of the United States Air Force Eastern Test Range. Certain locations may be too close to the launch pad for safe viewing, and therefore will not be available for certain launches. For instance, the LC-39 Observation Gantry is never available for viewing launches from Kennedy Space Center's Launch Complex 39 as the gantry is too close to be safe for viewers.
Rocket launches are sometimes delayed or scrubbed.
At any given time, a rocket launch may be delayed or scrubbed for a variety of reasons, with weather and technical issues being just a few. The visitor complex is not responsible for any scrubs or delays, but we will communicate all updates to our guests as soon as details are confirmed. Be sure to read the Scrub Policy for your LTT or package before you make your purchase.
Never Miss a Launch:
- 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
- Visit the visitor complex Commercial Crew Program page for upcoming launches and available viewing packages.
- Discover how to See A Launch from viewing areas at Kennedy Space Center.
- Learn more about how to prepare for launch viewing as a visitor on The Payload blog.