It would take a billion years to learn all about the complexities of space exploration. But for those visiting the Kennedy Space Center, just two days are enough to spark a deep love and appreciation for outer space. In this week’s edition of Take Five, we sit down with Frank Da Costa, Global Sales & Marketing Manager for the Kennedy Space Center, to discuss what’s new for visitors in 2023 and how travel agents can easily package this top-rated attraction.
1. Can you tell us a little about the history of the Kennedy Space Center (KSC)? How it came to be, when it opened and what its main mission is?
“The Kennedy Space Center, located on Cape Canaveral, Florida, is a historic and iconic site for the U.S. space exploration program. It is home to the launch pads that have sent astronauts into orbit since 1961 and has been integral to America’s journey in space. From the first Americans in space to the Apollo Program of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Kennedy Space Center has been at the center of some of the world’s most significant accomplishments in space.
“Kennedy also is home to a wide range of NASA research, including studies of plant growth in space to feed astronauts on long-duration missions and developing robots that will explore the moon and other worlds in our solar system.”
2. How long would a visitor need to ‘see it all’ at the Center? And what would you say are the top 3 must-see attractions?
“It takes about two days to see everything here at the NASA Kennedy Space Center VC, but you must not miss the Gateway Deep Space launch, Apollo Saturn V Center, and the Beautiful Orbiter Atlantis Space Shuttle. Have lunch with an Astronaut, explore beyond the NASA gates and see the day-to-day NASA workers in action with the ‘KSC Explore Tours and Flight with an Astronaut Experience.’ And if you can fit it in, there’s heroes and legends storytelling, too.”
3. How would visitors get to KSC from hubs like Orlando and Miami?
“The Center is about 45 minutes away from the Orlando area and international airport. It is a simple, easy ride on the Beach line, a straight drive from anywhere in Orlando, Disney and Universal Area. There are several partners like Grayline and City Sight Seeing Transportation Company that will package admission, transportation and much more for guests to get here.”
4. What’s new at KSC for 2023?
“We have a few new exhibits in 2023 like the ‘Gateway Deep Space launch’ and ‘Spaceport,’ a new attraction that takes visitors on one of four space journeys (Red Planet, Daring Explorers, Cosmic Wonders, and Uncharted Worlds) that discover current and upcoming cutting-edge space exploration innovations from NASA and its commercial partners.
“In addition to all the launches happening biweekly, visitors can also see up close NASA Commercial partner launches from our viewing area in Banana Creek and Atlantis North Lawn.
“There’s also the ‘All Systems are Go! Snoopy Show.’ Visitors can come along as a Launch Director calls Snoopy and Woodstock to assist with the next NASA mission – Artemis. From training for the mission to testing the Orion spacecraft to visiting other planets, guests can go on a sensational, out-of-this-world 20-minute adventure full of history, education and imagination.”
5. How does KSC work with Canadian travel agents?
“I love to walk around here and see the massive number of Canadians at the Center. It is always a second destination to the beach or cruising in Port Canaveral, a second place to enjoy and learn about space exploration while visiting the Sunshine State. Travel agents can always get their packages via one of our contracted partners. They can also contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they’d like to work with us direct.”