NASA KSC Tours
By James | Last updated August 18, 2023
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All the tours start at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and most end at the Apollo/Saturn V Center. Buses leave the Apollo/Saturn V Center every 15 minutes to return to the main Visitor Complex; journey time is around 20 minutes.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center tells the history of the Apollo Moon landing programme and contains a complete Saturn V launch vehicle as well as a number of artefacts including an Apollo capsule/lander and a lunar rover.
Whilst the standard Kennedy Space Center Tour is included with the normal admission price all the other tours cost an additional $25 for adults and $19 for children and reservations are recommended as timings and places are limited.
Note that all tours must be purchased in conjunction with a regular admission ticket. See our Kennedy Space Center Tour ticket page for details of all prices.
Due to time constraints it is difficult to go on more than one tour on a single day. Therefore you may need to upgrade to an annual pass or multi-day ticket if you want to experience more than one tour and then come back for a second visit. If you are planning on taking a tour as well as having “Lunch with an Astronaut” then you need to time your tour carefully.
Because the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral are both working space-launch facilities, all tours are subject to change or cancellation due to operational requirements. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
On rocket launch days some or all of the tours may not run. You can watch the launch from the Visitor Complex though the view will most likely be obstructed or you can purchase an additional launch pass ticket which typically gives you a closer view of the launch. Viewing sites vary depending upon which launch pad the rocket is lifting off from. Alternatively you can watch a launch from the nearby areas, outside of the Kennedy Space Center.
Existing KSC Tours
The Kennedy Space Center Tour is included in the normal admission price and is the only free tour on offer each day.
Each of the Up-Close tours costs $25 for adults and $19 for children (aged 3 to 11), plus tax. You are accompanied on each tour by an experienced tour guide. These tours typically run for a limited time and are sometimes replaced.
All the tour guides and drivers are very knowledgeable and will stop to point out specific points of interest and wildlife throughout the tours.
Kennedy Space Center Tour
The Kennedy Space Center Tour is a bus trip to view the two giant Shuttle launch pads, 39A and 39B, the massive Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the crawlerway leading to the launch pads. The tour then continues to a viewing of the historic Apollo 8 launch site and concludes at the Apollo/Saturn V Center where you can take your time to explore the massive 363 foot long Saturn V rocket that launched the manned Apollo Moon missions.
You might also get to see one of the massive Crawler Transporters that take the rockets from the Vehicle Assembly Building to the various launch pads.
Launch pads 39A and 39B were used by the Apollo Saturn V moon landing rockets, the Space Shuttles and will be used in the future by SpaceX and NASA’s own next-generation Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket system.
The Kennedy Space Center Tour is included in the standard admission and tours departs every 15 minutes from near the Atlantis exhibit. You should allow 1.5 hours to complete plus a further 1.5 to 2 hours to visit the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
This tour used to include a trip to the top of the 60 foot tall LC–39 Observation Gantry and the Launch Control Center. From the top of the tower you could get a 360 degree view of the shuttle launch pads.
KSC Up-Close: Explore Tour
Introduced in 2012, the Up-Close: Explore Tour includes stops by the Vehicle Assembly Building, NASA Causeway, launch pads, Shuttle Landing Facility, countdown clock at NASA’s Press Site, mobile launch platform used to move Apollo moon rockets and space shuttles to the launch pad, Operations and Checkout buildings and concludes at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Tour Length is approximately 2 to 2.5 hours.
KSC Up-Close: The Launch Control Center Tour
If your interest is in the launch control side of things, then the Launch Control Center (LCC) Tour takes you inside Firing Room 4, one of the LCC’s four firing rooms where you can see the computer consoles from where NASA engineers monitored the launch control systems leading up to the launch of the last 21 shuttle missions. You also get to see the launch countdown clock and the “bubble” room which housed the Kennedy Space Center management team during missions.
From 2006 all shuttle launches were controlled from this room. The tour also includes a drive by of the space shuttle Launch Pads and ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Tour Length is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours.
Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour
To experience some of the history of Cape Canaveral from the 1960s to the present day, there is the Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour. You can relive the launch of America’s first satellite, Explorer – 1, at Launch Complex 26, see Launch Complex 5/6 where America launched its first manned space craft, visit the Air Force Space & Missile Museum as well as seeing some of today’s active rocket programmes. Like most tours, it ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
This tour is very poignant as it highlights some of the sacrifices made by the astronauts including the site of Launch Complex 34, scene of the Apollo 1 tragedy where Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee lost their lives in a fire in the command module.
This tour requires ID. For US and naturalised citizens a government issued driver’s license or state ID card is required for those aged 18 or over. For international guests (including children) you will need a valid passport.
Tour Length is approximately 3 to 3.5 hours.
There are a couple of good books covering the Apollo moon landings if you are interested in the early history of the Kennedy Space Center.
Previous KSC Up-Close Tours
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has always offered tours of the launch complex but to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2012 they introduced some new specialist “Up-Close” experience tours to compliment the existing tours which ran for a limited time.
These tours are no longer running at the present time but are included here for historical interest. Some of the locations and structures mentioned have now been demolished.
KSC Up-Close: The Launch Pad Tour
For shuttle lovers. The Launch Pad Tour takes you nearly a quarter of a mile inside the perimeter security fence of Launch Pad 39-A where all the Apollo Moon landing missions and most of the Space Shuttles were launched from, for a unique photo opportunity.
You can get a close up view of the 350 foot high fixed service tower, the rotating service structure, the flame trench, water tanks and the propellant storage containers.
As well as Launch Pad 39-A, you also drive by the sister Pad 39-B, which will launch future manned space flights as part of the new Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket system, the Vehicle Assembly Building, mobile launch platforms and crawler transporters, The tour ends at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
This tour ended on March 31, 2014.
KSC Up-Close: The Vehicle Assembly Building Tour
If you have ever wanted to see inside the 525 foot high Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), then you should take the Vehicle Assembly Building Tour. You can walk along the edge of the Transfer Aisle, which is used to move elements of the giant rockets among the building’s four High Bays.
For a limited time, you will have the opportunity to see Atlantis up-close as it has been moved from the Orbiter Processing Facility to the VAB prior to going on permanent exhibition.
Other stops on the tour are the public viewing areas on the NASA Causeway where you can a panoramic view of the launch facilities, the camera stop for Launch Pad 39-A/B and the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
This tour ended on February 11, 2014.