By Emily King
The Kennedy Space Center--located just East of Orlando, Florida--is offering special rare-access tours to areas never before open to the public. In celebration of the center’s 50th anniversary, new tours of the launch pad, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the Launch Control Center are expected to run only through the end of this year.
Each of the three tours provides a unique behind-the-scenes look at American space travel. The newest of these, The Launch Pad Tour, buses visitors inside the pad’s security fence. NASA spacecraft has blasted into space for over 50 years from this spot--it has ushered Apollo rockets to the moon and held space shuttles carrying parts of the International Space Station.
The Vehicle Assembly Building Tour takes travelers into one of the world’s largest enclosed spaces for a fascinating look at the history of NASA. Mission banners signed by the men and women who worked on each mission hang from the 525-feet-tall rafters in this gargantuan warehouse.
Tours of the Launch Control Center are definitely a tourist favorite--the control room is an icon of American space exploration, and the world has watched many rocket launches and heartbreaking disasters unfold on the faces of those working the control center. Windows face the enormous launch pads sitting just three miles away.
For a nation of people who have watched so many rockets and shuttles rise to the stars, these tours are a special opportunity to experience America’s space program first-hand.