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Presidential visits to Cape Canaveral


Since being founded as the nation's civilian spaceport and missile testing ground, NASA's Kennedy Space Center and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida have been host to visits by seven sitting United States presidents and seven vice presidents.

To date, only two sitting presidents have witnessed crewed launches from the Cape.


Dwight D. Eisenhower, President

Feb. 10, 1960:

 

Visited Cape Canaveral

 

Dr. Wernher von Braun explains the Saturn launch system to John F. Kennedy at Cape Canaveral, Nov. 16, 1963. (NASA)
 

John F. Kennedy, President

Feb. 23, 1962:

 

Project Mercury ceremony - presented astronaut John Glenn and Robert Gilruth, director of the Manned Spacecraft Center, with NASA Distinguished Service Medals

Sep. 11, 1962:

 

Toured launch complexes for Mercury-Atlas, Titan and Saturn C-1 rockets

Nov. 16, 1963:

 

Visited Cape Canaveral. Watched launch of a Polaris missile from submarine.

President was in helicopter flying over the MILA tracking station (under construction)

 

Lyndon Johnson, Vice President

Oct. 3, 1961:

 

tour of space installations

Feb. 23, 1962:

 

Project Mercury ceremony

Sep. 11, 1962:

 

tour of LOC with President Kennedy

 

Lyndon Johnson, President

Sep. 15, 1964:

 

Impromptu visit to KSC, inspected SA-7 booster being prepared for launch and space probes. Briefed by astronaut Wally Schirra on Gemini spacecraft

Sep. 27, 1966:

 

With West German Chancellor Ludwig Erhard for tour; delivered a speech in the Vehicle Assembly Building

 

Vice President Spiro Agnew and former President Lyndon Johnson view the Apollo 11 launch at Kennedy Space Center, 1969. (NASA)
 

Lyndon Johnson, civilian

Jul. 15-16, '69:

 

Viewed Apollo 11 launch

 

Hubert Humphrey, Vice President

Feb. 22, 1965:

 

Tour of KSC and Air Force facilities and briefings of various space programs

 

Richard Nixon, President

Nov. 14, 1969:

 
Viewed Apollo 12 launch

— first sitting President to view NASA launch

 

Spiro Agnew, Vice President

Mar. 3, 1969:

 

Viewed Apollo 9 launch

Jul. 16, 1969:

 

Viewed Apollo 11 launch

Apr. 11, 1970:

 

Viewed Apollo 13 launch

Jan. 31, 1971:

 

Viewed Apollo 14 launch

 

President Nixon watches Apollo 12 pre-launch activities from the Kennedy Space Center's viewing area on Nov. 14, 1969. (NASA)
 

Jimmy Carter, President

Oct. 1, 1978:

 

Celebration for NASA's 20th Anniversary - awards to astronauts in Vehicle Assembly Building

 

Jimmy Carter, civilian

Jan. 3, 2002:

 

Toured Kennedy Space Center with his wife, Rosalyn

 

George H.W. Bush, Vice President

Mar. 17, 1981:

 

Tour of space shuttle operations and met with STS-1 crew

Feb. 5, 1982:

 

Spacelab dedication in O&C Building

Sep. 5, 1983:

 

KSC's Labor Day picnic - held at press site

Jan. 28, 1986:

 

Loss of space shuttle Challenger and the STS-51L crew - visit with astronaut families and NASA officials

 

Dan Quayle, Vice President

Feb. 20, 1991:

 

Tour of LCC, LC-39A and visit with STS-39 crew — watched countdown test

May 9, 1991:

 

Spaceport USA to dedicate Space Mirror

Sep. 12, 1992:

 

Viewed STS-47 launch

 

Bill Clinton, President

Oct. 29, 1998:

 
Viewed STS-95 launch

(John Glenn on board)

 

President and Mrs. Clinton watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery from the roof of the Launch Control Center. (NASA)
 

Al Gore, civilian

Feb. 7, 2015:

 

NOAA's Deep Space Climate Observatory launch attempt and news conference

 

Dick Cheney, Vice President

Jul. 1, 2006:

 

Viewed STS-121 launch attempt

 

Barack Obama, President

Apr. 15, 2010:

 

Delivered speech on space vision in O&C. Toured Complex 40 SpaceX launch pad

Apr. 29, 2011:

 

Toured with the First Family space shuttle Atlantis in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 and visited with Endeavour's STS-134 crew

 

Mike Pence, Vice President

Jul. 6, 2017:

 

Delivered speech on National Space Council in VAB. Toured Armstrong O&C building.


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