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Experience The Final Frontier At Kennedy Space Center

No Space Coast vacation is complete without a visit to the area's namesake: The Kennedy Space Center. Home of astronauts and astrophysicists, the area holds a magical spot in the hearts and souls of all patriotic American dreamers. It was from here that man looked to the heavens and headed off for the adventure of a lifetime. Now every visitor can get a better glimpse into what that trip would be like. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex at NASA's launch headquarters is the real deal when it comes to touring launch areas, meeting American space heroes, marveling at gigantic rockets in a garden or viewing a real live launch.  With enough magical science to keep even the most cynical young at heart, the visitor complex recently added the experience everyone who loves space travel has been waiting for.  The Shuttle Launch Experience at the Kennedy Space Center gives visitors a first hand experience at the stomach clenching excitement that astronauts feel as the shuttle lifts them off the Earth and into the stars.  A state of the art space flight simulator was designed not just by theme park ride experts but the experts who have experienced the real deal.  Even the facility housing resembles real launch platforms and buildings to  make the entire adventure as authentic as possible. Under the guidance of NASA and with the help of veteran Shuttle Astronauts, the Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center was designed to answer the second most asked question of Space Shuttle astronauts, "What is it like to launch aboard the Space Shuttle?"  Guest "crew members" strap in for a vertical simulation which will put them at the center of a Space Shuttle launch in an incredible journey launching into space and orbiting the Earth.  It is a definite for the vacation "must do" list for any visit.  Exploring Kennedy Space Center should start with a tour of the NASA facilities that made President John F. Kennedy's dream a reality more than four decades ago.

Tour buses are available to guide guests around the launch pads and the Vehicle Assembly Building, which is so large it is visible for many miles and is something of a landmark for the entire county.  Tours then explore the awe inspiring Apollo/Saturn V Center which includes a massive Saturn rocket and a tribute to the Apollo Astronauts and the machines that got to the moon and back home.  Back at the Visitor Complex, there are IMAX movies, live theatrical productions, and the chance to meet a real space traveler during the Astronaut Encounter.  There is a full size Shuttle replica to explore and one of the original Gemini capsules on display.  Be sure not to miss the veritable outdoor museum of ten-story high rockets from every era of the space program in the Rocket Garden and for real space enthusiasts, check out the Lunch with an Astronaut program.  The Space Mirror Memorial, a huge black granite monument to the 24 astronauts who lost their lives in the pursuit of space exploration, should not be overlooked during any vacation trip.  After a trip through the Visitor complex, space buffs and simulator fans will want to head over the US Astronaut Hall of  Fame to see the huge collection of astronaut memorabilia before blasting off for multiple interactive experiences like the G-Force Trainer.  For those scheduling a vacation trip to coincide with a shuttle or rocket launch, there are many excellent places around the county to watch the excitement.  Space View Park, set along the Indian river inn Titusville near the US Space Walk of Fame, is a river walk connecting four major parks.  A popular launch viewing area, the park includes educational and interpretive exhibits, sculptures, art and statues.  Nice launch views are available just about anywhere in the county, however, the beaches and the Kennedy Space Center offer some the clearest views.  Less than 500 men and women have ever flown to space as United States Astronauts. These are heroes among heroes.

The Shuttle Launch Experience

The new Shuttle Launch Experience is an incredible journey of launching into space and orbiting Earth aboard the Space Shuttle.  Guest "crew members" strap in for this all too real simulation, which immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and feelings of a Space Shuttle launch, designed under the guidance of NASA and veteran Space Shuttle astronauts.  The launch experience in the one of a kind custom designed crew cabin culminates with a breath taking view of Earth from space.  The journey starts as "crew members" enter the Shuttle Launch Simulation Facility, an ominous structure architecturally consistent with Space Shuttle facilities at Kennedy Space Center.  As "crew members" ascend along the gantry towards the launch simulator, voices from past shuttle astronauts provide words of wisdom and testimonials that set the stage for what the crew can expect on this great adventure.  As the crew enters the Space Shuttle pre-launch briefing operations center, they are greeted by Charlie Bolden, the veteran Space Shuttle commander.  He proceeds to guide the new "crew" through a step by step launch sequence and prepares them for the final blast-off.  Passengers then enter the crew cabin in the Space Shuttle's payload bay and strap in for launch.  For the next five minutes, the cabin's 44 passengers will experience the powerful journey that takes them from zero to 17,500 mph!  The payload bay doors of the shuttle will then open revealing a breathtaking and magnificent view of the Earth that is rarely seen anyone on Earth.  After this experience, visitors will never view a launch in the same way.

Special promotional offers and discounted tickets for Kennedy Space Center may be found at

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