Payload Blog

Best Things to Do This Summer at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex


Are you planning a trip to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex this summer? From launches to updated attractions and daily opportunities to meet an astronaut, there are a lot of ways to spend a full day at the visitor complex. These are some of the top things to check out during your visit.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 launching from Kennedy Space Center.
  1. Watch a Launch! There’s nothing quite like seeing a rocket lift off the pad, leaving behind a trail of thick smoke. The intense silence during countdown is broken by the roar of the rocket growing louder the higher it climbs in the sky.
    If the timing is right, seeing a launch up close at Kennedy Space Center is one item you can cross off your bucket list here. There have already been six launches this year by SpaceX and United Launch Alliance with many ahead on the radar. Plus, a new era of space exploration is beginning at Kennedy Space Center with NASA’s Commercial Crew Program aiming to launch humans later this year. Keep an eye on our launch schedule for upcoming launch opportunities. Space Shuttle Atlantis Orbiter
  2. See a real space shuttle! When you’re at the visitor complex, a must-see is space shuttle Atlantis. With 33 trips to space under her belt, the orbiter is now displayed as she was in Earth’s orbit with payload bay doors open and the Canadarm extended. The entire attraction is a tribute to NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program, so be sure to leave plenty of time in your schedule to explore.
    Check out interactive displays, a life-size mock-up of the Hubble Space Telescope, see how astronauts live on the International Space Station and get a taste of what it’s like to leave Earth’s gravity on our Shuttle Launch Experience®. Family stares in awe of the Saturn V moon rocket at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
  3. Celebrate the Apollo Program’s 50th anniversary. July 20, 2019, marks 50 years since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon. We are celebrating NASA’s Apollo Program with exclusive trading cards for each mission and numerous special events in July.
    We’re also unveiling new displays inside the Apollo/Saturn V Center to celebrate the milestones of the Moon missions, featuring modern, interactive displays and 3D holograms. Check out our calendar and sign up for email alerts to stay in the loop on everything Apollo! Guests engage with the microgravity chairs in the Astronaut Training Experience Center.
  4. Train like an astronaut. Be sure to make time during your trip for our all-new Astronaut Training Experience® (ATX) and Mars Base 1 programs. Train for a mission to Mars, complete a spacewalk using virtual reality, or work on base, growing crops and engineering solar panels. Guests of all ages can enjoy the variety of experienes available. If you don’t have time for these full-day programs, then look into the ATX training stages that focus on one mission like our Spacewalk Training Stage, ranging from 30-60 minutes in time. We recommend scheduling in advance as these programs fill up quickly. Family walking towards the Bus Tour Entrance.
  5. Go behind the gates. The Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour is your ticket into NASA’s restricted areas. See where the Apollo and space shuttle missions launched, while learning what NASA and its partners are preparing for right now. Our brand new bus tour takes you on a journey led by space guide Emily Calandrelli. See the Vehicle Assembly Building, active launch pads and the historic Crawler Way, where the Saturn V and space shuttles were rolled out to launch pads 39A and 39B. Learn more!

Arrive early for your visit, because there’s enough here to fill a day (or two). Besides the top items above, you can meet an astronaut, see a 3D space film in the IMAX® Theater and visit several more of our exhibits. Purchase your tickets online and create a personalized itinerary!

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