CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2014) – KENNEDY SPACE CENTER – Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will launch a new tour on Feb. 24 giving visitors an insider’s view of the U.S. Space Program, from the launch sites of today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the past and future of space exploration at Kennedy Space Center.
Led by a trained space expert, the KSC Up-Close Explore Tour includes up-close views of the massive, 525-foot-high Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), in which the Apollo moon rockets and space shuttles were prepared for the launch pad, and the Shuttle Landing Facility, the nearly 3-mile-long runway on which most space shuttles landed and that is slated for use by the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser®, one of the new commercial spacecraft being developed.
The tour stops in between the Kennedy Space Center launch pads for a close-up photo opportunity, in front of the VAB, and on the NASA Causeway where guests are surrounded by a panoramic view of launch pads at Cape Canaveral that are currently accommodating rocket launches by NASA, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance.
Along the way, visitors will see other iconic space program images such as the countdown clock at NASA’s Press Site, a crawler transporter used to move Apollo moon rockets and space shuttles to the launch pad, and the Operations and Checkout building, the departure point for astronauts traveling to the launch pad on the day of their mission. The 1 hour 45 minute tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center, which features dramatic multimedia shows and numerous hands-on displays as well as a 363-foot long Saturn V moon rocket.
Other rare access tours at Kennedy Space Center include the KSC Up-Close Tours of the Launch Control Center (LCC), where NASA directors and engineers supervised all of the 152 launches for the space shuttle and Apollo programs, and Launch Pad, which takes visitors to Launch Pad 39-A, the launch site for the majority of space shuttles and all six Apollo missions to the moon.
On Feb. 23, the KSC Up-Close Tour of the VAB will end to allow for modifications needed while Kennedy Space Center is changing into a multi-user Spaceport and preparing for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). When completed, the Space Launch System will be capable of powering humans and potential science payloads to deep space. Also ending on Feb. 23 is the KSC Up-Close Mega Tour, which takes visitors to the VAB and Launch Pad 39-A.
The KSC Up-Close Explore KSC and all KSC Up-Close Tours are $25 plus tax per tour for adults and $19 plus tax per tour for children age 3-11. A general admission ticket or annual pass is required in addition to the cost of each tour.