Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Lonely Planet review for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Houston, we have an attraction. It was perhaps inevitable that, considering its proximity to Orlando, the space center would develop a ride, and thus Shuttle Launch Experience officially achieved lift-off. Reaching a top 'speed' of 17,500mph – vertically – this realistic simulator ride was designed by astronauts to feel just like a space-shuttle takeoff, but without the teary goodbyes.
Your ticket to the complex includes a two-hour bus tour, a 45-minute IMAX film, live-action stage shows, exhibits on subjects such as early space exploration and encounters with astronauts. It also includes the Astronaut Hall of Fame, where you'll experience the G-Force Trainer and other simulator rides.
Add-on options abound, depending on how serious you are about your astronaut experience (they're popular – book in advance). Discover KSC includes a visit to the massive Vehicle Assembly Building, while Cape Canaveral: Then & Now is an extended guided tour that includes the Air Force Space & Missile Museum. Hungry space enthusiasts can have Lunch with an Astronaut, and the action-oriented Astronaut Training Experience prepares you for spaceflight, should the opportunity arise.
As of 2011, NASA ended its space shuttle program indefinitely, which means an end to watching shuttle launches at Kennedy. However, because of this you can expect changes, both with exhibits and visitor facilities as well as with Kennedy's role in the next phase of the US space program.