posted December 24, 2010 10:39 AM
I'm new to this site ... I came across some old threads where people were lamenting the cost and limited access of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) bus tour out of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC).
KSCVC is run by Delaware North, which has a contract from NASA to run the tourist park and the bus tours.
But there is another option which few people know about.
CCAFS is technically part of Patrick Air Force Base. The Patrick Public Affairs Office runs a free bus tour on the second Wednesday of every month. The tour starts at 8:45 a.m. outside the CCAFS south gate and runs about three hours.
You need to call the PAO in advance to make reservations. The number is (321) 494-5945. They're not real good about answering the phone or returning messages, but if you leave your name with the size of your party you should be on the list. Typically they handle about 25 people on a tour.
This tour goes to a lot more places than the Delaware tour. It's the only way the public can go into the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse. You're allowed to get out and walk around Launch Complex 34. Depending on time, they'll let you out at LC-14, where the blockhouse has been restored.
There's also some talk about expanding the number of tours, but nothing is official yet.
The Air Force Space & Missile Museum, where Explorer 1 launched, recently opened a new facility called the History Center. It's outside the south gate, in the Space Florida office complex. The SpaceX Launch Control Center is across the commons. The History Center has displays for every launch complex at CCAFS. For those who can't get on base, it's an opportunity to sample some of the history.