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Launches at Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center Tickets | Hotels Near the Space Center and Port Canaveral

Kennedy Space Center

space coast logoThe John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), situated on Merritt Island, Florida, is one of NASA’s ten field centers. Since December 1968, KSC has been NASA’s primary launch center for human spaceflight, research, and technology. It played a pivotal role in historic missions like Apollo, Skylab, and the Space Shuttle program. The iconic Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control Center are part of its sprawling 144,000-acre campus. Visitors can explore the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where exhibits, artifacts, and the Shuttle Landing Facility offer glimpses into our cosmic endeavors. Kennedy Space Center Tour From Orlando

Launches at Kennedy Space Center

Launch Pads at Kennedy Space Center. The Kennedy Space Center supports launches for NASA, SpaceX, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance. In 2023, a record-breaking number of 69 orbital launches took off from the Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Base in Florida. This increased tempo surpassed the previous all-time high of 57 launches in 2022, and it’s a testament to the continued advancements in space exploration and technology. The Space Coast is buzzing with activity as we witness more rockets reaching for the stars!

Tour include bus transportation from Orlando and return plus admission to the Kennedy Space Center.

Watch Rocket Launches from Your Hotel or Condo Rental on the beach

The last manned rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center brought 100,000 visitors to the Space Coast to witness this historic event. There are launches almost every week at the Kennedy Space center and the safest way to witness a rocket launch is from your hotel. Now is the time to book your hotel reservations near the Kennedy Space Center.

Launch Sites

All rocket launches originate from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station which is part of the overall Kennedy Space Center. Three launch pads are currently used at the Space Force Station, depending on the entity launching the rocket.

All launch sites are located on a barrier island along Florida's east coast, about 50 miles due east of Orlando and known as Cape Canaveral. Nearby Patrick Space Force Base supports security for all launches and NASA recovery efforts for manned spacecraft.

SpaceX

SpaceX is by far the most prolific launch company at Kennedy Space Center. SpaceX was the first private company to launch and return a spacecraft from Earth Orbit. The workhorse for SpaceX is the Falcon 1 rocket, designed for small satellite launches, demonstrated cost-effectiveness and innovation. SpaceX’s Crew Dragon transports astronauts to the ISS, revolutionizing space travel. SpaceX has prioritized reusable rockets, significantly reducing costs compared to traditional one-time-use vehicles.

In 2024, SpaceX has ambitious plans for a flurry of launches. The company aims to achieve an impressive pace of approximately one launch every two days throughout the year, totaling around 180 launches if they maintain this rate. These launches will cover a wide range of missions, from deploying satellites to crewed missions and scientific endeavors.

Blue Origin

Blue Origin has expanded its facilities at the Kennedy Space Center, which are used for various purposes. One of the most notable facilities is the massive rocket factory at Kennedy Space Center’s Exploration Park, which Blue Origin moved into in December 2017. The factory is used to manufacture and provision commercial space launch vehicles, including Blue Origin’s reusable New Glenn rockets. Blue Origin is expanding its rocket manufacturing facility at the Kennedy Space Center with new manufacturing and processing facilities.

In addition to the rocket factory, Blue Origin has also opened a new exhibit at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The exhibit features a replica of Blue Origin’s New Shepard crew capsule, which provides a virtual-reality experience of the rocket’s journey in space.

United Launch Alliance

United Launch Alliance (ULA): ULA, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, contributes to launches from the Kennedy Space Center. In 2023, ULA conducted 3 launches, including 1 Delta IV Heavy and 2 Atlas V missions.

NASA

NASA: While not a commercial company, NASA is a key player at the Kennedy Space Center. Their crewed missions, scientific endeavors, and lunar exploration programs contribute to the spaceport’s activity. Notably, the Commercial Crew Program collaborates with SpaceX for crewed missions to the International Space Station.

Launch Delays

On occasion there are launch delays caused by local weather or weather down range. Delays may also be generated by technical issues, but those are more infrequent than in the past. If you book your hotel for several days you will still be able to see a delayed launch and enjoy the great beaches and sea food in a meantime .

Come for the Launch - Stay for the Beaches

Many of these launch hotels are on the beach so you can enjoy the ocean views and beach activities as you long as you want. There are few people on the beach early in the morning so it is a good time to take a walk or swim. The Space Coast features 72 miles of beaches so you can walk all you can.

Port Canaveral and Florida Cruises

Another great cruise season is beginning in Florida and there is no better cruise port than Port Canaveral, just 45 minutes east of Orlando on Florida's Space Coast. Voted the best cruise ship port in the world, and already the second busiest, Port Canaveral is a destination in itself. Home to Disney Cruise lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Two Fantastic New Cruise Ships now sailing from Port Canaveral on Florida's Space Coast

Soon the Royal Caribbean's spectacular new natural gas powered and largest ship, Wonder of the Seas, cruises from Port Canaveral weekly. Additionally, Disney's newest and largest ship, the Disney Wish, has joined the other Disney cruise ships at Port Canaveral. Both of these ships will offer the most spectacular cruise ship experiences ever. Book a great cruise and book Hotels at Port Canaveral

Drive to Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is a drivable destination for most areas of the Southeast United States and frequent flights into Orlando International Airport are available from everywhere. Rental cars or busses are the favorite mode of transportation for the fifty mile trip east from Orlando to Port Canaveral for those who fly in.

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