Space News space history and artifacts articles Messages space history discussion forums Sightings worldwide astronaut appearances Resources selected space history documents

                  arrow advertisements

Presidential visits to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral

Since being founded as the United States' 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 eight sitting U.S. presidents and seven vice presidents.

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

Dwight D. Eisenhower, President

Feb. 10, 1960:


Visited Cape Canaveral


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:


Visit to Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, received a briefing at the LC-34 blockhouse, visited Hangar AM and Mission Control Center

Sep. 27, 1966:


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


Lyndon Johnson, civilian

Jul. 15-16, 1969:


Viewed Apollo 11 launch


Hubert Humphrey, Vice President

Feb. 22, 1965:


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

Mar. 23, 1965:


Visit during the Gemini 3 mission


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


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)


Al Gore, civilian

Feb. 7, 2015:


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


Dick Cheney, Vice President

Jul. 1, 2006:


Attended 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:


Attended STS-134 launch attempt. Viewed Atlantis in Orbiter Processing Facility-1 and visited with STS-134 crew.


Donald Trump, President

May 27, 2020:


Toured with the First Wife Armstrong O&C Building.

May 30, 2020:


Viewed SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch from Operations Support Building II. Delivered speech in VAB.


Mike Pence, Vice President

Jul. 6, 2017:


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

Feb. 20-21, 2018:


Chaired National Space Council meeting in Space Station Processing Facility.

Jul. 20, 2019:


Delivered speech on 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing at Armstrong O&C building.

May 27, 2020:


Attended walkout of SpaceX Crew Dragon-2 crew for first launch attempt. Toured Armstrong O&C building.

May 30, 2020:


Viewed SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo-2 launch. Delivered speech in VAB.


Kamala Harris, Vice President

Aug. 29, 2022:


Attended Artemis I first launch attempt. Toured Armstrong O&C building.


Wernher von Braun, the director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, at left, explains operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Launch Complex 37 to President John F. Kennedy, right, during a tour on Nov 16, 1963. (NASA)

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

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

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

President Donald Trump, right, Vice President Mike Pence view the launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon Demo-2, May 30, 2020. (NASA)

back to collectSPACE
© 2023 All rights reserved.