Prepare For Liftoff
Prepare For Liftoff

Ignite Your Senses There’s something about witnessing a live rocket launch that leaves a person in awe. The sheer spectacle of sights and sounds is a jaw-dropping, bucket-list experience. At Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, guests have the opportunity to view rocket launches, featuring live launch commentary from space experts, with the purchase of launch viewing/transportation ticket. Within a few miles/kilometers from the launch pads, you’ll see and feel the liftoff of spacecraft as they leave Earth under the full power of mighty rocket engines. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for launch viewing announcements.

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

Launch Viewing

LC-39 Observation Gantry

Located at the historic Launch Complex 39 where Apollo astronauts launched to the moon, the LC-39 Observation Gantry is the absolute closest viewing area to the launch pads of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Shaded viewing from the gantry and outdoor bleacher seating make this the premium launch viewing area, situated just 2 to 5.5 miles from launch pads. This location is wheelchair accessible. Sun and insect protection are recommended. Launch viewing at this location requires a ticket in addition to daily admission. Ticket cost is $49.

Amenities:

  • Bleacher seating, an open lawn area and limited viewing room on the LC-39 Observation Gantry are available on a first come, first serve basis
  • Live launch commentary
  • Indoor restrooms
  • Snacks and refreshments included in launch transportation ticket
  • Retail shop
  • Wheelchair accessible

Apollo/Saturn V Center

This prime viewing location is dedicated to celebrating the Apollo program as the final stop on the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour. The Apollo/Saturn V Center includes theaters, dining and shopping, and offers a close-up look at the world’s largest rocket, Saturn V. Outdoor bleacher seating offers views of launch pads 5 to 8 miles away. This location is wheelchair accessible. Sun and insect protection are recommended. Launch viewing at this location requires a ticket in addition to daily admission. Ticket cost is $20.

Amenities:

  • Bleacher seating and an open lawn area
  • Live launch commentary
  • Indoor and outdoor restrooms
  • Moon Rock Cafe
  • The Right Stuff retail shop
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • ATM available

NASA Causeway

Connecting Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the NASA Causeway offers an expansive view of launch pads just 3 to 5 miles away across the Indian River. This location is wheelchair accessible. Sun and insect protection are recommended. Launch viewing at this location requires a ticket in addition to daily admission. Ticket cost is $39.

Amenities:

  • Bleacher seating and an open lawn area
  • Live launch commentary
  • Outdoor restrooms
  • Snacks and refreshments available for purchase
  • Wheelchair accessible

Main Visitor Complex

Available with daily admission, this viewing area is located next to Space Shuttle Atlantis®. Visitors view the rocket from 7 miles away once it clears the tree line. This location is wheelchair accessible, and no other ticket purchase is required. Sun protection is recommended.

Amenities:

  • Bleacher and lawn seating next to Space Shuttle Atlantis®
  • Live launch commentary
  • This location offers everything included with admission to the main visitor complex
  • The Space Shop and Shuttle Express® retail shops
  • Indoor and outdoor restrooms
  • Several restaurants are available: Orbit Cafe, Rocket Garden Cafe, G-Force Grill and Milky Way Ice Cream
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • ATM available

 

NOT ALL LOCATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AT EACH LAUNCH.

 

Launch date, time and viewing opportunities are subject to change. Launches can be affected by technical and mechanical issues as well as range operations and weather, either in advance or at the last minute. Learn more about our Launch Scrub Policy.

Launch Viewing Tips

Rocket launch viewing is an exhilarating experience! Learn insider tips on how to watch a rocket launch in addition to a day of exploring Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex attractions and exhibits.

Once launch details are official, you will find ticket information for each launch at our Events Calendar. There you will find information on how to purchase a launch viewing/transportation ticket in addition to daily admission, if applicable.

 

What you need to know:

  • Plan to arrive early; we open at 9:00 AM. Expect high attendance and increased traffic leading up to the visitor complex and throughout the Space Coast, and after the launch or a scrub.
  • Save time by purchasing your tickets online and accessing them on your phone at the front gate. 
  • Anticipate longer lines for attractions, restaurants, tours, restrooms and shows on a launch day. 
  • Minimize food lines by planning to eat lunch either before or after peak times.
  • Just as lines may have been longer when boarding the bus to launch viewing areas, anticipate that it will take time to return to the main visitor complex after a launch or a scrub.
  • Be prepared for outdoor viewing in direct sunlight and sharing the viewing areas with insects.
  • Check the printed Daily Schedule on site or monitor our social media for the latest information leading up to the launch.

 

Items to Bring:

  • Sun protection: screen, hats, umbrellas and sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Soft-sided coolers or lunch boxes
  • Water in plastic bottles
  • Cameras, tripods and binoculars
  • Blankets or umbrella-style folding camp chairs carried in shoulder bags

 

Learn more about when tickets are sold, when to arrive, and what to expect if a launch delays or scrubs on The Payload blog:  How to Watch a Rocket Launch at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and How to Prepare for a Launch Day

Launch Scrub Policy

Launch date, time and viewing opportunities are subject to change. Launches can be affected by technical and mechanical issues as well as range operations and weather, either in advance or at the last minute. Follow us on Twitter for up-to-date information on launches. Your Launch Transportation Ticket (LTT) provides transportation to premium launch viewing at the LC-39 Observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V Center or NASA Causeway viewing sites. This ticket will be collected from you when you board the bus to your particular launch viewing site.

 

If the launch is postponed, two scenarios are possible:

  • If you are holding a LTT and the launch is postponed before you board a bus, your LTT will be valid for the next attempt to view the launch from your launch viewing site, either the LC-39 Observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V Center or NASA Causeway; or you may use the value of the Launch Transportation Ticket for merchandise in the Space Shop.
  • If the launch is postponed after you have boarded a bus to either the LC-39 Observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V Center or NASA Causeway, all elements of the LTT are considered used in full. You will receive a 20 percent off coupon for use at one of our on-site retail shops. You will also receive a voucher to be exchanged for a Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex daily admission ticket valid for the date of the next launch attempt. You can use this daily admission ticket to view the launch from the main visitor complex viewing area.

 

Daily admission, multiday passes and annual passes are valid only for entry to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Daily admission, multiday passes and annual passes do not include LTTs to premium launch viewing at the LC-39 Observation Gantry, Apollo/Saturn V Center or NASA Causeway viewing sites.

Launch Viewing Distances

LAUNCH PADS:

Rockets launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida lift off from three launch pads assigned to commercial rocket companies:

  • United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket launches from Space Launch Complex (SLC) 41
  • ULA’s Delta IV rocket launches from SLC-37
  • SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches from SLC-40 and Kennedy Space Center at Launch Complex 39A.

 

DISTANCES:

  • LC-39 Observation Gantry
    To Atlas V SLC-41 - approximately 2.3 miles/3.7 kilometers
    To Falcon 9 SLC-40 - approximately 3.4 miles/5.5 kilometers
    To Delta IV SLC-37 - approximately 5.5 miles/8.9 kilometers
    No viewing for SpaceX LC-39A or NASA LC-39B

  • Apollo/Saturn V Center
    To Atlas V SLC-41 - approximately 5.4 miles/8.7 kilometers
    To Falcon 9 SLC-40 - approximately 6.2 miles/10 kilometers
    To Delta IV SLC-37 - approximately 8 miles/12.8 kilometers
    To SpaceX LC-39A - approximately 3.9 miles/6.27 kilometers

  • NASA Causeway
    To Atlas V SLC-41 - approximately 5.2 miles/8.3 kilometers
    To Falcon 9 SLC-40 - approximately 4 miles/6.4 kilometers
    To Delta IV SLC-37 - approximately 3 miles/4.8 kilometers
    To SpaceX LC-39A - approximately  7 miles/ 11 kilometers

  • Main Visitor Complex
    To Atlas V SLC-41 - approximately 7.1 miles/11.4 kilometers
    To Falcon 9 SLC-40 - approximately 6.7 miles/10.8 kilometers
    To Delta IV SLC-37 - approximately 7 miles/11.3 kilometers
    To SpaceX LC-39A - approximately 7.5 miles/ 12 kilometers