One of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers. Located on the east coast of Florida, John F. Kennedy Space Center is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
There are about 700 facilities and buildings grouped across the center’s 144,000 acres. Among the unique facilities at NASA Launch Operations Center are the 160 meter tall Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking NASA’s largest rockets, the Launch Control Center, which conducts space launches at John F. Kennedy Space Center.
The military had been performing launch operations since 1949 at what would become Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. In December 1959, the Department of Defense transferred 5,000 personnel and the Missile Firing Laboratory to NASA to become the Launch Operations Directorate under NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 goal of a crewed lunar landing by 1970 required an expansion of launch operations. NASA began land acquisition in 1962. The major buildings in KSC’s (NASA Launch Operations Center) Industrial Area were designed by architect Charles Luckman. Construction began in November 1962. On November 29, 1963, the facility was given the name John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Since December 1968, John F. Kennedy Space Center has been NASA’s primary launch center of human spaceflight. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39.
Though the first Apollo flights and all Project Mercury and Project Gemini flights took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the launches were managed by NASA Launch Operations Center and its previous organization, the Launch Operations Directorate. Starting with the fourth Gemini mission, the NASA launch control center in Florida began handing off control of the vehicle to the Mission Control Center in Houston, shortly after liftoff.
Kennedy Space Center is a major central Florida. The Space Center Visitor Complex offers public tours of the center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Featured Image: Kennedy Space Center / Image: Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex