The John F. Kennedy Space Center is a complex of facilities for launching spacecraft and flight control ( spaceport ), owned by NASA and located on Merritt Island in the county of Breward , Florida, USA . The center is located near Cape Canaveral , halfway from Miami to Jacksonville . The dimensions of the Center are 55 km long and about 10 km wide, the occupied area is 567 km². At the beginning of 2008, a total of 13,500 people were working in the center.  There is a visitor center at the launch site, which, among other things, provides bus excursions to the launch site. At the moment, only 9 percent of the space center’s area is being used as intended, the rest of the territory is a wildlife reserve ; The main attractions of this place are: Mosquito Lagoon , Native American River , Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Coast . This territory has more lightning strikes than any other place in the United States, forcing NASA to spend millions of dollars to prevent lightning strikes during launches.
Currently, the work is controlled from the launch complex No. 39, where the building is a vertical assembly . 5 kilometers east of the complex of buildings are two launch sites. 8 km to the south is the industrial area of the Kennedy Center, where many of the Center’s auxiliary equipment is located and the headquarters office building is located.
All shuttle launches were carried out by Kennedy Space Center from launch complex No. 39, and the center launches unmanned spacecraft from launch sites of the nearby Canaveral Cape Air Force Station , which is subordinate to the US Air Force. The center is served by approximately 15,000 civil servants and contractors. 
The beginning of the lunar program increased the number of launches from the cape adjacent to the island of Merritt. NASA has been acquiring territories since 1962 , gaining ownership of 340 km² by direct purchase and an additional 230 km² through negotiations with the state of Florida. In July 1962, this area was named the Launch Center. In November 1963 , after the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy , she was renamed the Kennedy Space Center. (The nearby Cape Canaveral was also renamed Cape Kennedy, but this change did not become popular with the local population and in 1973 the cape was returned to its original name).
The lunar project consisted of three stages: Mercury , Gemini , and Apollo . The objectives of the Mercury program were:
- bring a spaceship with an astronaut on board into orbital flight around the Earth;
- explore the ability of man to work in space;
- to work out technologies for returning a spacecraft from orbit.
The project was launched in October 1957 , using the Atlas launch vehicle as the main payload carrier in the Mercury program, but the initial testing used Redstone launch vehicles for a series of suborbital flights , including 15-minute flights of Alan Shepard 5 May and Virgil Grissom July 21, 1961. The first person to fly on the Atlas was John Glenn February 20, 1962 . When NASA implemented the Mercury program, launches were made from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the Kennedy Space Center was not yet deployed.
Based on the information received by Mercury, more complex two-seater Gemini capsules were prepared, with which a new launch was made on the basis of Titan II intercontinental ballistic missiles . The first manned flight was made on March 23, 1965 by John Young and Virgil Grissom. The main achievement of Gemini IV was the first spacewalk of the American, who was Edward White . In total, 12 Gemini missions started from Kennedy Space Center, of which the last 10 were manned. The last launch, the Gemini 12, was carried out on November 11, 1966 and the flight ended 4 days later.
The Apollo program included another new type of aircraft - a three -stage Saturn V booster rocket (111 meters high and 10 meters in diameter) built by Boeing (first stage), manufacturer North American Aviation ( engines and the second stage) and the Douglas Aircraft Company (third stage). North American Aviation also provided team and module services, while Grumman Corporation designed the lunar landing module. IBM , Massachusetts Institute of Technology and General Electric provided tools and equipment.
For the development of this new rocket, a new center was built at Kennedy Space Center for $ 800 million - launch complex No. 39. It includes a hangar for four Saturn V rockets and a vertical assembly building (with a volume of 3,664,883 m³); transportation system from the hangar to the launch pad with the ability to move 5440 tons; 136-meter mobile service system and control center. The construction began in November 1962, launch sites were completed by October 1965 , the vertical assembly building was ready in June 1965, and the infrastructure was built after 1966. From 1967 to 1973, 13 vehicles of the " Saturn V ".
Before the Saturn V launches, from the complex No. 34 at Cape Canaveral, a series of launches of the smaller Saturn I and intercontinental ballistic missiles were made to test the readiness of people and equipment. The death of astronauts Gus Grissom , Ed White and Roger Chaffee in a fire that occurred on January 27, 1967 at Apollon-Saturn 204 (later called Apollon-1 ), also occurred in complex No. 34.
The first test launch of Saturn V - Apollo 4 (Apollo Saturn 501) was scheduled for October 30, 1967 with a delay of 104 hours and after a short delay was made on November 9 . Apollo 7 was the first test manned flight in this series and took place on October 11, 1968 (on the Saturn launch vehicle). Apollo 8 , the first manned launch of Saturn V, made ten revolutions around the moon on December 24-25, 1968 . During the flight of Apollo 9 in low Earth orbit , the first manned tests of the lunar module were carried out. The Apollo 10 flight, in which the lunar module was tested in a lunar orbit, became the dress rehearsal of the first man to land on the moon. Apollo 11 was launched on July 16, 1969, and astronauts landed from it set foot on the lunar surface at 22.56 on July 20 . The Apollo program was continued by the Kennedy Space Center in spacecraft with Apollo 14 ( 1971 ) - the 24th manned space flight in the United States (40th in the world) to Apollo 17 in December 1972 years .
To expand the capabilities, the air forces chose to launch aircraft of the Titan series for the possibility of lifting heavy loads. For this purpose, launch complexes No. 40 and No. 41 were built to launch the Titan III and Titan IV rockets from the air station of Cape Canaveral, in the south of the Kennedy Space Center. The Titan III could carry the same payload as the Saturn booster, but it was significantly cheaper. Launch complexes 40 and 41 were used to launch defensive-reconnaissance, communication and meteorological satellites, as well as for NASA planetary missions. The Air Force also planned two military air manned space projects for launch complexes 40 and 41. These were the Dyna-Soar — manned orbital rocket planes (canceled in 1963) and the manned orbital laboratory — the manned reconnaissance space station (canceled in 1969).
The development of launch vehicles also continued at the Kennedy Space Center, before the Apollo program, at Atlas-Centaurus launches from launch complex No. 36, and formed the basis of the first soft landing of the American geodetic apparatus on the moon on May 30, 1969 . Subsequently, 5 of the 7 geodetic spacecraft were also successfully transferred to the moon. In 1974 - 1977, powerful Titan-Centaur launch vehicles became new heavy carriers for NASA during the launch of Viking and Voyager spacecraft from the US Air Force Launch Complex No. 41 lent by NASA. Later complex No. 41 became the site for the launch of a large part of the powerful unmanned American missiles, the Titan IV, developed by the Air Force.
Saturn V was also used to launch the Skylab space station into orbit in 1973 . At the same time, launch pad 39B was slightly modified to use the Saturn launch vehicle and in 1973 three manned missions to Skylab, also known as the Apollo subprogram of the Apollo-Soyuz joint program, were launched in 1975 .
Until July 2011, the Kennedy Space Center was the place to launch the Space Shuttle, reusing Complex 39 with the Apollo infrastructure. The first launch was the ship Columbia on April 12, 1981 . The center is also a place for landing orbital shuttles - there is a landing strip with a length of 4.6 km. However, the first Shuttle landings returning after completing their missions were not available at the Kennedy Center until February 11, 1984 , when the Challenger completed the STS-41B mission; The first landing site before that time was the Edwards Air Force Base in California . By September 1988 , there were 25 flights with a large interval between January 28, 1986 and September 29, 1988, after the Challenger crash (which was the first shuttle launched from site 39B).
In September 2004 , part of the Kennedy Space Center was damaged by Hurricane Francis. The vertical assembly building lost a thousand external panels of approximately 1.2 × 3.0 m each. This endangered elements of the 3700 m² building. Destruction received land south and east of the building. The roof was partially torn down and the insides were extensively damaged by water. Coating production will likely be rescheduled [ clarify ] in Palmdale, California , on spare production facilities.
Also, in October 2005, Hurricane Wilma damaged the Center.
On May 16, 2011, within the framework of the STS-134 mission, the Endeavor space shuttle was launched, which delivered the 3rd transport and storage pallet for logistics, and also a magnetic alpha spectrometer  . On July 8, 2011, as part of the STS-135 mission, the last launch under the Space Shuttle program took place - the Atlantis space shuttle delivered repair parts and consumables to the International Space Station .
Since October 2011, launches from this cosmodrome have not been carried out  . With the cessation of shuttle flights and the cancellation of the Constellation program in 2010, the future of the launch complex LC-39 became uncertain. In early 2011, NASA began discussions on the use of sites by private space companies.
On April 14, 2014, a lease was signed between NASA and SpaceX , which transferred the launch pad LC-39A to SpaceX for 20 years. The launch pad LC-39A is in the process of modernization for launching the Falcon 9 v1.1 and Falcon Heavy rockets, the first launch from it took place on February 6, 2018. Dragon V2 manned spacecraft was launched from the LC-39A platform on March 2, 2019.
The launch pad LC-39B is being upgraded to launch the SLS launch vehicle with the Orion manned spacecraft, the first unmanned launch is scheduled for 2020. It is also planned to use the site for commercial launches.
Since the founding of the Kennedy Space Center, nine NASA officials have held the post of director:
|No.||Start||the end||A person|
|one||July 1962||November 1974||Dr. Kurt H. Debus |
|2||January 19, 1975||September 2, 1979||Lee R. Scherer |
|3||September 26, 1979||August 2, 1986||Richard J. Smith |
|four||August 31, 1987||December 31, 1991||Forrest S. McCartney |
|five||January 1992||january 1995||Robert L. Crippen |
|6||january 1995||March 2, 1997||Jay F. Honneikatt |
|7||March 2, 1997||August 9, 2003||Roy D. Bridges, ml. [ten]|
|eight||August 9, 2003||January 2007||James W. Kennedy |
|9||January 2007||the present||William W. Parsons |
The Kennedy Space Center visitor complex is managed by the North Delaware Companies Corporation without tax. This complex combines museums , two IMAX cinemas and various bus tours, allowing visitors to look into different closed places, which under other circumstances cannot be reached. The basic fee for people over 12 years old is $ 50. This price includes a bus tour to closed places for the review of ground tracking stations of launch complex No. 39 and a trip to the Apollo Saturn V center. A review of the tracking stations includes an unobstructed inspection of both launch sites and the entire Space Center property. The Apollon-Saturn V Center is a huge museum built around the most valuable exhibit of the exhibition - the reconstructed launch vehicle Saturn V and other space-related exhibits, such as the Apollo capsule. Two large-format cinemas allow tourists to experience fragments of the Apollo program. One film simulates the environment in the launch pad during the launch of the Apollo, and the other simulates the landing of the Apollo 11 ship. The tour also includes a visit to the building, where modules for the International Space Station are checked.
The complex of visitors also has two buildings opened by the Astronauts Remembrance Fund. The most notable of these is the Cosmic Mirror monument, also known as the Astronauts Memorial, which is a giant black granite mirror engraved with the names of all astronauts who died during work. These names are constantly illuminated from behind with natural light when available and artificial light if necessary. It seems as if the radiant names are floating in the reflection of the sky. In addition, nearby screens provide information on the life and death of immortalized astronauts. Also, on the territory of the visitor complex there is an educational center in which there is information for those who want to learn about space.
A few articles about spacecraft flying off and ready for flight at the Kennedy Center:
- Capsule " Gemini-9A " in the complex of visitors.
- Rescue command module for Apollo / Skylab in the visitor complex.
- LM-9 - lunar module of the Apollo expedition, designed for the canceled mission of Apollo at the Saturn V Center.
The rescue module for Skylab and LM-9, among several others prepared for flight, are currently presented both in stock and in the form of information articles about them on displays. The Skylab rescue module was spare during the Skylab 3 and Skylab 4 missions in case of a rescue operation and was removed from the second launch pad from launch pad No. 39 during the Skylab 3 mission when problems arose in the command module missions that were subsequently eliminated. LM-9 was originally intended for Apollo 15, but the mission was changed and significantly expanded, so the delivery of the lunar rover became irrelevant.
In addition, we can say that near the Astronauts Hall of Fame there are the Sigma-7 capsule of the Mercury-Atlas 8 program and Kitty Hawk - the Apollo-14 spacecraft command module.
- “Our view: Still spaced out” Archived November 5, 2015 at Wayback Machine , Florida Today , January 23, 2008 .
- Halvorson, Todd. KSC chief says more tech work needed. - Florida Today, May 12, 2007.
- List of launches planned by NASA
- NASA - Biography of Dr. Kurt H. Debus
- NASA - Biography of Lee R. Scherer
- NASA - Biography of Richard G. Smith
- NASA - Biography of Forrest S. McCartney
- NASA - Biography of Robert L. Crippen
- NASA - Biography of Jay F. Honeycutt
- NASA - Biography of Roy Bridges
- NASA - NASA KSC Director Announces Retirement
- NASA - Biography of William W. (Bill) Parsons
- Timeline of manned spaceflight
- Suborbital space flight
- Manned spacecraft
- Skylab Orbital Station