6 things to know about Kennedy Space Center

All eyes are focused on Kennedy Space Center for Wednesday’s planned launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon. But what do you really know about the NASA location?

Here are six things to know about the Kennedy Space Center.

1. NASA was established by President Dwight Eisenhower as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration on July 29, 1958. In September 1961, the land was purchased on Merritt Island to support the Apollo Lunar Landing Program.

2. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center’s Headquarters building was opened on May 26, 1965. The Engineering and Operations Building, or E&O Building, was constructed for the Mercury program. It was later used for the Unmanned Launched Operations. It is now home to the Expendable Launch Vehicles, or ELV, Program.

3. Launchpad 39A was the site of the Apollo missions, as well as space shuttle missions. It was the launchpad for SpaceX's Crew Dragonaccording to Space.com. Construction began in 1963 and was completed in 1965. The first Saturn V rocket launched from 39A on Nov. 9, 1967. Apollo 8, the first crewed rocket to orbit the moon, launched from the same pad in December 1968. History was once again made on July 16, 1969, when Apollo 11 launched from 39A to begin the trip to land a man on the moon.

4. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center are referred to jointly as the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

5. Kennedy Space Center was the base for the Space Shuttle program. The first space launch for the Space Shuttle Columbia blasted off on April 12, 1981. The final landing was July 21, 2011, with the Space Shuttle Atlantis returning to Earth. The Space Shuttle program flew 135 missions over its 30-year history. The Enterprise was only a test shuttle used for approach and landing tests. It was not designed for space flight.

6. While closed to tourists due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Visitor Center Complex will reopen May 28.


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