Tag Archives | Kennedy Space Center

SpaceX Dragon & Rocket Launch Offer Rare Opportunity

SpaceX Dragon

Have your photo taken with a spacecraft that has recently been in space!


If you are visiting the Central Florida area and have not made it out to the Kennedy Space Center, you should. This week and weekend offers a rare opportunity to see the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on display at the Visitor Complex. If you can make it to KSC on Wednesday, February 11, you’ll be in for a big treat as a Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch.

If you recall, the SpaceX Dragon is the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station. Prior to SpaceX’s $1.6 billion contrat with NASA, only government spacecraft delivered and retrieved cargo from the ISS. The Dragon was the first of 12 cargo missions contracted. It made history in May of 2012 with its trip into space, successfully completing the mission. It is currently the only spacecraft flying that is capable of returning significant amounts of cargo to Earth. Talk about a glorified trash truck!

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: The SpaceX Dragon display is included with admission to KSC and is free for annual pass holders of this theme park. It offers a great opportunity to get your souvenir photo taken with an actual spacecraft that has recently been in space.

Rocket Launch

Since the Falcon 9 rocket launch is scheduled for 6:03 p.m. on February 11, this day will allow guests to visit the attraction complex all day and be in for a treat shortly after closing. The Visitor Complex hours are 9 am – 6 pm; and the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame® hours are from Noon – 5 pm. Extended hours are also a possibility on launch days.

This particular Falcon 9 rocket is a Deep Space Climate Observatory, which is a fancy way for saying that the satellite will help predict the weather! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) space weather alerts and forecasts observe the nation’s solar winds. By placing this observatory in orbit, it will provide up to a 60-minute warning for geomagnetic storms. These are the storms that can effect transportation systems, power grids, telecommunications and GPS. Pretty cool, huh?!

If you enjoy learning more about our nation’s history in space, be sure to plan a day at KSC. Having the Dragon and a Rocket Launch this week, make it an extra special time to visit this Central Florida attraction. The next launch is scheduled for March 12 at 10:44 p.m. It is an Atlas V rocket that will make three-dimensional measurements of magnetospheric boundary regions and examine the process of magnetic reconnection. Sounds like rocket science to me…

New Exhibit at KSC Will Fire You Up!

Asteroid entering the atmosphere

An exciting new exhibit opened at the new Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex last week. “Great Balls of Fire” is an asteroid encounter that will test, surprise, entertain and possibly answer many of your questions. It will definitely educate theme park guests on the risks (and benefits) of asteroids and comets.

The new exhibit is approximately 1,500 square feet which contains many interactive features. You will learn how scientists determine the path of a near-Earth object. You can examine rocks to determine which one is a meteorite. Guests can also find out some interesting facts of what might happen if an asteroid hit their home town. With plenty of hands-on activities, all ages will enjoy this exhibit. 

An entertaining session includes a Science Fact or Science Fiction where you can view clips from movies and television shows that feature astroids and comets.  You’ll be asked to  answer whether the science is right or wrong. You’ll be able to compare your answers to those of scientists and other visitors at the KSC Visitor Complex.

Another fun thing to do is to build your own solar system and examine rocks which you can test for magnetism, color and density/relative weight. Can you determine which one is a meteorite?

Another fun and educational activity allows you to enter your zip code into a computer, pick a size of asteroid or comet, and see what the impact might be to your home town. Another educational aspect of this new exhibit, especially for children, deals with dinosaurs. You’ll be able to view a display explaining why many scientists think the extinction of dinosaurs could be related to an impact by a celestial body.

Every feature of the exhibit is included with regular admission. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you attend this Central Florida theme park on a date in which a launch is scheduled, you may receive extended hours. For example, this Monday, July 14, the Visitor Complex will open early at 7:30 a.m. to accommodate launch viewing. The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to lift off from Launch Pad 40 at 9:21 a.m. The Visitor Complex will remain open until 7:00 p.m. Live commentary will be made and the viewing areas are included in daily admission. ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: Arrive before 8:30 a.m. and take the transportation offered to the Apollo/Saturn V Center for the best launch viewing.

Great Balls of Fire is scheduled to run until January 4, 2015. It is a production of The Space Science Institute’s National Center for Interactive Learning. The national traveling exhibition receives funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is only 45 minutes from Orlando, and opens daily at 9 a.m. Closing times varying by season.  Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

New Passes Available at Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center announced this week that they are offering three new annual passes. With the holidays quickly approaching, now is a great time to purchase these passes, especially if you will have family visiting or vacation time coming. The passes come with a discount for all of your guests (up to 6 in your party), plus a whole lot more.

KSC annual pass options:

Discovery Pass: $75 plus tax for adults, $60 plus tax for children ages 3-11

  • Unlimited admission for one year
  • 10% off admission tickets for up to six guests per visit
  • A Discovery Pass lanyard
  • The Visitor Complex newsletter

Atlantis Pass: $89 plus tax for adults, $71 plus tax for children ages 3-11

  • All Discovery Pass benefits
  • Free parking
  • 10% off souvenirs, food and beverage
  • 10% off Astronaut Training Experience® and Camp KSC®
  • Exclusive special events and privileges
  • An Atlantis Pass lanyard

Explorer VIP Pass: $139 plus tax adults and children

  • All Discovery Pass and Atlantis Pass benefits
  • One free KSC Up-close tour (available after the government shutdown is over)
  • One free lunch with an Astronaut
  • A free collectible souvenir
  • An Explorer Pass lanyard

Biker poses with motorcycle in front of KSCAnother special offer, available this week only October 17 – 20 (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.), is a Biketoberfest special at the Kennedy Space Center. Bikers are allowed to roll their motorcycle up in front of the solid rocket boosters in front of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit for an 8 x 10 photo souvenir. It isn’t every day you can place you,  your motorcycle and the bright orange external fuel tanks in one frame for a perfect photo opportunity! The Biketoberfest special costs $70 and includes admission, parking and the photo.

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: If you’ve come to Central Florida and have the desire to join the Biketoberfest activities and see Central Florida on two wheels, check out EagleRider. They are located near the Orlando airport and have plenty of motorcycle rentals.

Whether you are a biker or just a space lover, now is the time to go to KSC and purchase these annual passes. Even though the bus tours remain suspended due to the government shut down, there is plenty to do. Just a few of the new attractions include the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Angry BirdsTM Space Encounter and the new entry and fountain honoring President Kennedy. For more information, visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center

holidays in space

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is hosting its annual Holidays in Space event December 19th through January 3. Celebrate the holidays with astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the ISS. Learn about outer space and possibly view a rocket launch!

During this special celebration, take in the holiday décor throughout the Visitor Complex. Decorative wreaths and garland throughout the Visitor Complex add to the holiday celebration. The greatest display this year is the 223-foot long video screen…the Saturn 1B rocket! The rocket is transformed from a wrapped gift through years of space exploration with the use of a high-tech cinematic experience. The Rocket Garden Light Show is spectacular to see and worth the trip to the Space Coast.

High-Tech Show during Holidays in Space

“Spirit of Exploration” is a unique space and holiday-themed show that uses special projection mapping. The high-energy holiday presentation projects images onto irregularly shaped objects (the rocket), and features custom animation, awe-inspiring views of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) and real NASA footage. It is accompanied by incredible sound effects and music.

This special holiday presentation covers the space program from the first launches to the moon, through the 30-year Space Shuttle Program, the assembly of the ISS, and onto the surface of Mars. Many of the images are actual footage captured by NASA’s Curiosity and Opportunity robotic exploration rovers. Watch a short clip in the video below – a cinematic experience unlike anything else in the world!

ORLANDO TOURIST TIP: All holiday activities are included with Visitor Complex admission and no advance reservations are required. This is a great last-minute theme park to visit if plans for something else fall through. During Holidays in Space, light shows begin at dusk each day and up until January 3rd the complex is open an additional hour (until 7pm). The Visitor Complex is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, December 25.

If you’re wanting to experience the holidays from a different perspective, go to the Kennedy Space Center this season. You’ll enjoy learning about outer space and the history of our country’s space program. Unless Santa has been very good to you, you’ll have to enjoy Christmas here on Earth. So let your imagination launch you into another universe and enjoy the twinkling lights here at the Space Center as well as in outer space.

Packed house for shuttle launch

space shuttle EndeavorThere will be some big names in town this week for the next-to-last launch of space shuttle Endeavour.  President and Mrs. Obama, along with their children, and recovering U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, will be among the anticipated record crowds.  There will also be about 40 Congress members, and 250 staff members, and around 1,500 journalists.  Additional vast crowds are expected to view this launch as we are almost to the end of the shuttle era, the end of a part of our history.  The launch from Kennedy Space Center is scheduled for this Friday, April 29th at 3:47pm.  Best wishes for a safe mission!