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  KSC Visitor Complex: Launch Pad 39A Tour

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Author Topic:   KSC Visitor Complex: Launch Pad 39A Tour
Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-20-2012 09:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Next stop, the launch pad: NASA's Apollo, shuttle launch site opens for tours

The NASA launch pad from which Apollo 11 lifted off for the first manned moon landing and Atlantis left Earth to fly the last space shuttle mission is now open to the public for tours.

Launch Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida is the latest, limited-time tour stop being offered by the NASA spaceport's visitor complex. The tours — which also include separate trips to KSC's 52-story tall Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the Launch Control Center (LCC) — are now being offered as part of the center's 50th anniversary celebration.

"These are very rare opportunities that NASA has worked with us to provide to our visitors from Florida, across the United States and overseas," Bill Moore, chief operating officer of NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, said in a statement. "With exciting new space exploration programs coming to the Kennedy Space Center, we may never have access to such historic places like this again."

For more about the KSC Up-Close: Launch Pad Tour or to purchase tickets, see the visitor complex's website.

stsmithva
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From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 07-20-2012 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got an e-mail about this from KSC this morning. It looks great, but is anyone else having trouble with the links to buy tickets? Neither the ones in the e-mail, nor the ones you can get to in the above post, are working for me.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-20-2012 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The tickets site is takes a while to load but is still online.

YankeeClipper
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From: Dublin, Ireland
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posted 07-20-2012 07:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for YankeeClipper   Click Here to Email YankeeClipper     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know if the KSC Up-Close Launch Pad Tour is time-limited to 30 September 2012?

It doesn't come up on the KSC Special Tours ticket page as being available in October or November.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 07-20-2012 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to the visitor complex:
The Launch Pad Tour will run through the end of 2012 with a limited number of daily tours.

stsmithva
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From: Fairfax, VA, USA
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posted 07-23-2012 11:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by YankeeClipper:
Anyone know if the KSC Up-Close Launch Pad Tour is time-limited to 30 September 2012?

I just called KSC about getting tickets, and was told that the Launch Pad 39A tours stop on September 30.

contra
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From: Kiel, Germany
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 07-27-2012 03:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for contra   Click Here to Email contra     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to The New York Times:
The tour is the latest of three behind-the-scenes guided looks inside the highly secure Launch Complex 39, all of which will run through the end of 2012.
Would be nice to know if the tour will be running until the end of the year or not.

xlsteve
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From: Holbrook MA, USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 08-06-2012 12:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just got off the phone with KSCVC and I was told that, as of now, the launch pad tour is only running through 9/30, but that they may extend that date, and to check back later to see if they have.

Edit 8/27: They have extended the dates for the launch pad tour.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
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posted 02-07-2013 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The limited KSC Up-Close: The Launch Pad Tour has been extended through (at least) March 31, 2013.

Neil Aldrin
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posted 02-08-2013 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Neil Aldrin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone done the pad tour?

I'm trying to understand if you are let off of the bus once you get to the pad. The KSC link doesn't detail that.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-08-2013 05:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to information released earlier by the Visitor Complex (and cited from our article):
Near the pad, visitors will be able to exit the bus for photo opportunities, including close-up views of the 350 foot high (107 meter) fixed service structure (FSS), rotating service structure (RSS), propellant and water tanks, flame trench and other aspects of the launch pad complex.

Tony Guidry
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From: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Registered: Jun 2009

posted 02-08-2013 09:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tony Guidry   Click Here to Email Tony Guidry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My wife and I took the Launch Pad 39A Tour last August and, yes, we were allowed to get off the bus for a few minutes for a photo opportunity near the pad. If I recall correctly, our tour guide mentioned that we were standing about 450 yards from the base of the pad.

After reboarding the bus, we continued to slowly circle the pad area, passing just a few yards from the Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Hydrogen Storage Tanks, which are located some distance apart, for safety reasons. We also passed directly in front of the Hydrazine storage and processing area and the bunker area where the emergency escape basket cables come in from atop the service structure to ground level.

Our tour guide convinced our bus driver to take a slight detour off the official tour route to get us in a bit closer to the pad so we could get a better view of the flame deflector at the base of the pad. We were not allowed to get off the bus at this brief unofficial detour, but I would estimate we were no more than 200 to 300 yards from the base of the pad, so I was able to get a couple of fairly decent pictures of the base of the pad and the flame trench.

Our guide also pointed out a few things in the pad area that were left over from the Apollo days and no longer used by the Shuttle program. I asked our tour guide what NASA's future plans were for Pad 39-A and he replied that (as of last August) no final decision had been made as to future uses for the pad.

We also passed by Pad 39-B but did not go inside the perimeter fence area.

All in all, we were very satisfied with the Launch Pad tour and found it to be well worth the time and money.

cycleroadie
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From: Apalachin, NY USA
Registered: May 2011

posted 02-25-2013 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cycleroadie   Click Here to Email cycleroadie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the tour in November '12 you get off "near" (about 450 yards sounds about right) the side of the pad for stop one, and right at the Flame Trench for stop two (I have pics of me standing ALMOST in the trench and near one of the 2 foot diameter pipes headed to the pad). Everything else is seen from the bus.

Ronpur
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From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 07-02-2013 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like I will be going July 22 or 23. Very excited. Does anyone know if the Launch Pad tours are still going on?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-02-2013 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You can check available dates (and book tickets) on KennedySpaceCenter.com (the site lists both July 22 and 23 as being available).

Ronpur
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Posts: 442
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 07-03-2013 07:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, not only did you tell me where to go, you check the dates too... you are amazing Robert! Thank you!

I will probably get a year pass, for only $5 extra, and living just 2.5 hours away, I may get a chance to go back to Atlantis!

crash
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From: West Sussex, England
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posted 07-03-2013 11:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would strongly recommend the Mega Tour which gives you not only access to Pad 39A but also the VAB. I have already done the separate VAB tour and we had the same time in there on both tours. I did the Mega Tour in May '13 and we got off the bus and walked right up to the flame trench. Because of the work going on above the guide, and the security guard, would only let us go a bit further than the pic below:

GACspaceguy
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From: Guyton, GA
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posted 07-03-2013 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow! That is much closer than when I was on the tour last year.

SpaceKSCBlog
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From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 07-05-2013 06:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tony Guidry:
I asked our tour guide what NASA's future plans were for Pad 39-A and he replied that (as of last August) no final decision had been made as to future uses for the pad.
NASA is talking to commercial companies, SpaceX in particular, about leasing 39A. SpaceX may want 39A for the Falcon Heavy.

39A remains in "active" status only so long as NASA has the money to maintain it. Since that line item disappears from the KSC budget on September 30, after that 39A could be made inactive which could end pad tours.

Whatever entity takes over 39A will spend the money to renovate as they wish, which is why NASA has left it as is.

Ronpur
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Posts: 442
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 07-09-2013 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have our tickets for July 22, for the "Mega" tour. I am very excited. I am looking forward to seeing Atlantis as well.

I have not been to KSC since 2001. A great way to celebrate my birthday!

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-27-2014 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has announced that its Up-Close Launch Pad Tour will end March 31, 2014.
Launch Pad 39A, once the site of Apollo and space shuttle flights, is expected to be reactivated once an agreement is signed by NASA and SpaceX. As SpaceX prepares the launch pad for future flights, the site will resume its historic importance in furthering space exploration. This is part of the effort to transform Kennedy Space Center into a 21st century launch complex capable of supporting both government and commercial users. Because of the nature of operations, public tours will no longer be available at this active launch pad.

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