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Destination: Kennedy Space Center
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Destination: Kennedy Space Center
  Florida Travel News ( Press Release )

Experience the "authentic" U.S. Space Program first-hand
Kennedy Space Center, Florida, California: July 9, 2003: From the earliest days of America's storied space program, Kennedy Space Center has been there. Through the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs, the NASA prep and launch facility has captured the world's attention and fed its imagination for the farthest reaches of outer space. Nestled on a placid barrier island on Florida's "Space Coast" - Cocoa Beach, Titusville, Melbourne and Palm Bay - the endlessly bustling Kennedy Space Center is the epicenter of mankind's greatest adventure. Now, with a new era of events, attractions and interactive programs unfolding year-round, Kennedy Space Center is a must-see for every Florida visitor.
Located just 45 minutes from Orlando, at more than 140,000 acres - over 200 square miles - the massive Kennedy Space Center is six times larger than Manhattan. It is a dynamic entity, with more than 20 NASA launches conducted in the past year by NASA and private industry. Kennedy Space Center's remarkable collection of rockets, launch pads, NASA aerospace technology components and launch viewing opportunities offer an authenticity and behind-the- scenes access unlike any other Central Florida destination.
Home to the legendary Launch Control Center, where NASA engineers have guided launches since the Apollo program of the early 1960's, Kennedy Space Center also boasts the Vehicle Assembly Building - one of the largest buildings in the world - where Saturn V rockets and Space Shuttle vehicles have been assembled piece by piece. Stretched north is the 15,000-foot Shuttle Landing Strip, and along the Atlantic shore are the massive Shuttle launch pads, LC-39A and LC-39B. A stone's skip across the Banana River is Cape Canaveral, site of countless launches and even more launch pads, from the historic Mercury Redstone pads to the still-active LC-40 Titan IV.
Kennedy Space Center offers visitors numerous activities and interactive programs that will leave them with a new-found understanding of the U.S. space program:
 Live Space Launches--An on-going schedule of manned and unmanned space launches keep eyes glued to the skies
 Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge--home to more state and federally protected wildlife than any other National Refuge, there are 140,000 acres of estuaries, marshes and coastal dunes are seven distinct habitat types and over 500 species.
 NASA Guided Tours--The tour includes access to historical sights seldom open to the public, and explores the Space Shuttle program, from launch prep to lift-off, including up-close views of launch pads.
 Apollo/Saturn V Center --view all 363 feet of the most powerful rocket ever built.
 Spaceflight Simulator -- Interactive exhibits and simulators allow not just the thrill but the pull of flight. The G-force trainer centrifuge takes guests on a jet fighter training run, where they can pull up to "4 Gs" - three times the force of gravity.
 IMAX Theaters -- home to not one but two five-and-a-half-story-tall IMAX screens - the only twin IMAX theaters in the world. Now playing: the 3-D IMAX blockbuster Space Station (narrated by Tom Cruise).
 Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) -- From operating a full scale space shuttle mock up and accessing the International Space Station Center to taking the helm of mission control, ATX is a realistic day-long look at life as an astronaut.
 Astronaut Hall of Fame -- this newest addition features the world's largest collection of astronaut memorabilia, displays, exhibits, simulators and tributes to the heroes of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo.
 Rocket Garden -- Marvel at eight vintage rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo space programs.
 Lunch With An Astronaut -- offers guests a unique opportunity to dine with a true space hero from the Shuttle program. Learn about the daily life of an astronaut, ask questions, get a photo with the astronaut and an autographed souvenir.
Hotel packages start at $65 per night and reservations can be made by contacting Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex at www.KennedySpaceCenter.com or 321-449-4444.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Opening Times
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open daily from 9 a.m. to approximately dusk, except December 25 and certain launch days. Maximum Access Admission includes all exhibits, Astronaut Encounter, IMAX space films, the KSC Tour of restricted areas, and the Astronaut Hall of Fame, featuring historic spacecrafts, simulator rides and the world's largest collection of personal astronaut mementos.
Maximum Access Admission is $33 + tax for adults and $23 + tax for children ages 3-11.
For more information, call 321-449-4444 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.

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