The Payload Blog
Prepare for a Launch Day
Rocket launch viewing is an exhilarating experience! See the rocket engines ignite, followed by the roar of the engines that grows louder the higher the rocket climbs. Learn insider tips on how to watch a rocket launch in addition to a day of exploring Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex attractions and exhibits.
Launch viewing locations are offered based on the date and time of day of the launch, with Air Force and NASA approval. Once launch details are official, you will find ticket information for each launch at our Events Calendar. There you will find details on how to purchase a launch viewing/transportation ticket in addition to daily admission, if applicable.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE:
With the increased interest in space exploration and rocket launches, the visitor complex sees higher attendance on launch days. Launch viewing at the visitor complex requires the purchase of daily admission, so spend the day exploring the various attractions and exhibits in addition to viewing a rocket launch. Plan to arrive early; we open at 9:00 AM. Guests can expect increased traffic leading up to the visitor complex and throughout the Space Coast.
Save time by purchasing your tickets online. You may scan your barcode from your smartphone at the main entrance. Remember: Kennedy Space Center is located on the 140,000 acres of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. It is recommended you download your ticket or take a screenshot of the barcode in case you have poor reception.
Prepare for the Florida Climate
Florida is the Sunshine State! Be prepared for outdoor viewing in direct sunlight or, during an evening launch, sharing the viewing areas with insects. Be sure to bring sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and sunglasses.
- Soft-sided coolers or lunch boxes
- Plastic water bottles
- Insect repellant
- Cameras, tripods and binoculars
- Blankets or umbrella-style folding camp chairs carried in shoulder bags
THE DAY OF THE LAUNCH:
The Launch Day Experience
Launch viewing locations range from approximately 2.3 miles/3.7 kilometers to 8 miles/12.8 kilometers from the launch pads, depending on the location of the pad. You must take a Kennedy Space Center tour bus to access these viewing locations as they are beyond NASA gates, so daily admission is required. Guests enjoy launch commentary, bleacher seating, jumbo screen launch footage, food and gift shopping at most viewing locations.
Rocket launches are exciting and attract many visitors. You may experience longer lines for attractions, restaurants, tours, restrooms and shows on a launch day. We recommend you arrive early to beat the crowd and ensure you have enough time to experience everything in your day. Minimize lunch lines by planning to eat lunch either before or after peak times as lines will be shorter.
After boarding the bus for one of the launch viewing locations, be prepared to remain at the viewing area until the rocket has launched or scrubbed. Please bring all supplies before boarding the bus for launch viewing. Just as lines may have been long to board the tour bus, anticipate that it will take time to return to the main visitor complex after a launch or a scrub.
Just as interest in rocket launches grows, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex continuously works to improve the guest experience and educate the public on America’s multi-user spaceport. Learn more about when tickets are sold, when to arrive, and what to expect if a launch delays or scrubs on the See A Launch page.
Follow us on Twitter for the most up-to-date information regarding launches.