Kennedy Space Center Overview Updated August 14, 2022

Kennedy Space Center

Originally known as the NASA Launch Operations Center

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21 'Kennedy Space Center' stories

February 2020 - August 2022

Located on Merritt Island, Florida, and formed in 1962, John F. Kennedy Space Center is one of NASA’s ten field centers. A majority of NASA’s human spaceflight launches have taken place at the space center, including missions from Apollo, Space Shuttle, and Skylab.

Very close to the Kennedy Space Center is Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, and due to the close proximity, the two space centers work closely together and operate facilities on each other’s property.

There are around 700 different facilities and buildings scattered across Kennedy Space Center’s 144,000 acres. This includes the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Control Center, and Operations and Checkout Building.

Booster 7 and Ship 24 undergo major tests; Florida Starship progress continues

Both Booster 7 and Ship 24 were static fired for the first time this week as a second Starbase surge appeared to begin. Over in Florida, the completion of the orbital launch tower grows ever closer. 

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Launch Spotlight: Starlink Group 4-17 – SpaceX launches new batch of Starlink satellites

SpaceX launches a Falcon 9 from LC-39A at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on May 6, 2022, at 5:21 a.m. EDT. This launch carried a new batch of 53 Starlink satellites to a 53.2° inclination orbit.

Booster 8 stacking, Booster 7 tests, Ship 21 scrapped and more Starship updates

Starship development across Starbase and Florida has continued at a pace over the past week with progress on present and future vehicles and the scrapping of past vehicles, as Ship 21 met its fate.

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Booster 7 testing, Ship 24 progress, work in Florida continues, and more Starship updates

Booster 7 underwent a cryogenic proof test earlier in the week, Ship 24 sections were moved around the production site, and work on the launch tower sections in Florida continues.

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Starship full-stack undergoes testing, environmental assessment imminent

As progress continues to move at a rapid pace, a fully stacked Starship underwent its first cryogenic proof test this week followed by the first propellant loading test for the vehicle.

Hardware continues to be spotted in Florida with the construction of the tower segments as foundations are poured at Starship’s Florida launch site.

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Historic NASA launch control center named after Director ‘instrumental’ in Apollo program

The launch control center at Kennedy Space Center that first sent mankind to the Moon has now been named after Rocco Petrone, a man instrumental in America’s journey to reach Earth’s celestial neighbor during the Apollo program.

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Interview with KSC director of center planning on Starship at LC-49

Space fans have long anticipated SpaceX’s next rocket, Starship. While, to this point, most of the early development and testing has taken place in Boca Chica, Texas, SpaceX intends to launch Starship from Florida. We recently learned that, in addition to the LC-39A, SpaceX would like to use LC-49 to launch and land Starship Super Heavy vehicles.

We had the opportunity to speak with Tom Engler, the director of center planning & development at Kennedy Space Center.

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Lockheed Martin to construct factory building near Kennedy Space Center

Lockheed Martin recently opened their STAR Center at the former Astronaut Experience (ATX) attraction location. Now they are moving forward with plans to construct another factory building near their offices and AstroTech.

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Artemis 1 Closer Than Ever; SLS Core Stage Undergoing Integration

Stacking of the SLS Core Stage is well underway at this time with operations beginning on June 10th. This is a major milestone for the Artemis and SLS programs. The launch of Artemis 1 is currently NET November 2021, but this timeframe assumes no complications.

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KSC Visitor Complex Updates: Delta II rocket display and Apollo/Saturn V Center now open

The Visitor Complex at Kennedy Space Center has reopened one of its must-see exhibits and just unveiled the Delta II display! With the Coronavirus still very much a hazard, the KSC Visitor Complex has implemented new procedures to keep you safe while still being able to see the amazing Saturn V. Additionally, the latest addition to the Rocket Garden was officially unveiled today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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[Update: Fully Stacked] Delta II display coming to Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden

After 29 years and 155 flights, United Launch Alliance retired the Delta II rocket. The final flight took place on September 15, 2018, delivering the NASA ICESat-2 satellite to orbit. Some notable payloads of Delta II are the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rovers and most of the operational GPS satellites.

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NASA prepares for Artemis 1 with SLS booster stacking and Orion capsule preparations [Gallery]

NASA invited media to Kennedy Space Center to witness the progress being made with the stacking of the SLS Solid Rocket Motors and to see the Orion Crew Capsule as it is being prepared to be moved to one of the final processing facilities before being stacked later this year.

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NASA aims to make Space Coast a place for launchers of all sizes — small rockets included

In the coming months, Launch Complex 48 (LC-48) will become as talked about as all of the other launchpads on Florida’s Space Coast. NASA has been working on the development of this pad to be used by multiple launch providers with smaller classes of rockets. According to a press release issued today, they’ve set a limit of 500,000 pounds of thrust or less at liftoff.

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NASA’s Kennedy Space Center replacing old Huey helicopters with new Airbus H135 choppers

NASA is currently in the process of replacing its three Bell Huey 2 helicopters with new Airbus H135 helicopters at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA has been using the Hueys for about 30 years, and a lot of the staff have expressed their sadness to see them go.

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NASA adds ‘Launch America’ graphic to VAB ahead of National Space Council visit at Kennedy

A team has started applying the “Launch America” logo onto the side of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The new art celebrates NASA’s now-operational Commercial Crew Program and return to crewed flight from U.S. soil after the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.

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Massive week for NASA’s Space Launch System as launch preparations and testing underway

We’ve seen much of the journey to NASA’s first Artemis mission take place at Stennis Space Center and Michoud Assembly Facility in Mississippi and Louisiana, respectively. This week we get to see the first piece of SLS hardware begin stacking at Kennedy Space Center in Florida ahead of the big launch around the Moon next year.

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Orion spacecraft departing Plum Brook Station for Kennedy Space Center ahead of Artemis lunar mission

NASA’s Orion spacecraft will make the journey from Ohio to Florida later this month before ultimately leaving Earth for a test flight around the Moon for the first Artemis mission.

NASA has a media event at Plum Brook Station in Ohio scheduled for this Saturday, March 14, where Orion will be on full display. The viewing event was originally scheduled for Monday, March 9, then rescheduled for the weekend on Wednesday, March 4.

The spacecraft will arrive in Florida by Tuesday, March 24, when NASA will hold a second media event for welcoming the Orion spacecraft to its next testing home.

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Beach mice, courtesy of NASA

Donna Oddy’s “Everything to Know About Beach Mice” feature on today is hands-down the best space news of the week. I was very aware of the coastline beaches along Kennedy Space Center, but I have to admit I had no idea it inhabited beach mice.

The lesson of the day is there are 16 subspecies of field mice, four of which are considered beach mice.

The Alabama beach mouse lives in — you guessed it — Alabama. The Pallid beach mouse was found on the east coast, but this variety is believed to be extinct now. The Anastasia Island beach mouse and Southeastern beach mouse are found on the east coast of Florida.

Southeastern beach mice call the beaches of NASA’s rocket ranch home, spanning three federal properties: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Kennedy Space Center/Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and Canaveral National Seashore.

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Lindsey Stirling performs “Artemis” from NASA’s Launch Control Center

Lindsey Stirling’s electric violin performances are stunning all on their own, and this collaboration with NASA is just incredible.

Her latest album is called Artemis, although it has no direct association to NASA’s Artemis missions to send the first woman and next moon to the Moon with Space Launch System and Orien — until now, that is.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis and Apollo 8 Firing Room at Kennedy Space Center

Apollo 8 Firing Room, Saturn V rocket, Hubble Space telescope, Space Shuttle Atlantis, and more.

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SpaceX mobile launch gantry coming to Kennedy Space Center

Stephen Clark at the excellent Spaceflight Now site has the extensive story behind these new SpaceX artist renderings.

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