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  KSC Visitor Complex: Admission and parking (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   KSC Visitor Complex: Admission and parking
tfrielin
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posted 03-10-2013 04:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was just perusing the TripAdvisor website reviews of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and many posters there were bitterly complaining of the high cost of parking and admission.

I admit I'm old enough to remember when it was all free to get in and if I remember correctly, that lasted up, at least, through the early shuttle era.

So just when did visiting the Visitor Complex go from being free (not including the old TWA bus tours) to having to pay the rather hefty fees to get in? Just curious...

KSCartist
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posted 03-10-2013 05:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fees began after Delaware North was awarded the contract to run the Visitor Complex.

But all the fees go to improve and maintain the facilities and exhibits. The previous contractor (who I worked for in 1991-1993) would never have built the Apollo Saturn V Center or the Atlantis exhibit.

All in all it's worth it.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 03-10-2013 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Granted, KSC is not as big as some of the theme parks. But $10 for parking is nothing, even though it used to be free.

The $50 admission cost I'll admit can be prohibitive. And the $2.50 per person coupon doesn't help much. But if you get an annual pass - which surprisingly is only $63 - it'll pay for itself with a second visit, since annual passholders don't pay for parking.

4allmankind
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posted 03-10-2013 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 4allmankind   Click Here to Email 4allmankind     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point about the yearly pass, Hart.

That pass also gets you 10% off at the gift shop which I conveniently use as an excuse to load up my bag even more.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-10-2013 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Every time I publish an article about the new Atlantis exhibit, I see online comments and receive e-mails that NASA shouldn't be "wasting" taxpayer money on a Visitor Complex — even if the article explicitly states that no public funds go toward the center or its new developments.

People just like to complain. They cry foul if there is a fee because "their tax funds pay for NASA" and they cry fowl when they think their taxes are being spent on providing the experience they want for free.

The old visitor center offered some static displays, a bus tour at a premium and the chance to see an IMAX movie for an additional fee.

For the $50 (plus $10 parking) you pay to enter the Visitor Complex today, you can meet a real astronaut, watch as many IMAX films as you would like, take a bus tour around Kennedy Space Center, see a number of live shows, tour through three museums (including the Early Space Exploration Gallery, the Apollo Saturn V Center and the Astronaut Hall of Fame) and experience what it was like to launch on the space shuttle (and that doesn't even include the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit, which will add a fourth museum at no added expense).

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 03-10-2013 08:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 4allmankind:
That pass also gets you 10% off at the gift shop which I conveniently use as an excuse to load up my bag even more.
You also get a discount on food. I was there in February and found the food prices to be reasonable, at least in terms of theme parks in the area.

I forget exactly, since we had an annual pass, but doesn't admission to KSC also include admission to the Hall of Fame so long as you do so by the next day? The HoF is $23 by itself....

bwhite1976
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posted 03-10-2013 09:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bwhite1976   Click Here to Email bwhite1976     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I took my family there this past July and we bought the annual passes. This allowed us to visit over two days and I think the annual pass was only $55 due to the 50th anniversary of NASA (that may not be the exact number but it was in that neighborhood).

We each received a nice badge/lanyard, a commemorative coin, discounts, a bus tour to see the VAB, launch sites and the Saturn V museum, and admission to the AHOF. Plus, children under two were free (which I have two of).

I don't possibly see how anyone could complain that this is not a good deal. Personally, I would have paid triple the price to see the Saturn V museum on its own.

Fezman92
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posted 03-10-2013 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fezman92   Click Here to Email Fezman92     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If I was able to I would gladly spend the $60 to visit instead of shelling out almost $100 for Disney. It seems like more people complain about KSC than the do with Disney. I guess that could be because people expect high prices from Disney or they see KSC as more of an 'adult' thing.

tfrielin
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posted 03-11-2013 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Getting back to my original question: When did the ticket booths and turnstiles go up at KSC Visitors' Center?

I let many years go by between visits (STS-9 in late 1983 and not back until late 1997) but don't remember having to pay to get in as late as that '97 visit. We did pay to get on the bus to the (then new) Saturn V Museum (worth every penny) but don't think we went through turnstiles to pay for entry. So when did that change?

And as far as reviews on Trip Advisor go: I recognize one must take them with a grain of salt as some people just like to complain. But in this case, the dominant theme is KSC is way overpriced. And a significant portion of the reviews were average to terrible ratings. I hate to think that the prices and general negative experience so many people have will adversely affect tourism. As the Shuttle recedes into history, I'm afraid visitors will avoid the place.

And that will be a shame.

p51
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posted 03-11-2013 04:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
They also provide wheelchairs for those less mobile visitors at no cost. That doesn't sound like much until you try that at Disney or Seaworld and find out how much they charge...

gliderpilotuk
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posted 03-12-2013 12:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's really galling is the measly 20% discount on children's tickets and the fact that at anything over 11 years a child becomes an "adult" for pricing purposes (I know some of the theme parks are even worse). Hardly an incentive for educational visits and for a family of four $200 is a massive cost.

p51
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posted 03-12-2013 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got the impression from some people there I've talked with that they view it in the eyes of a person who's most likely to make one or two visits in their lifetime. It's easier to justify a massive cost by saying, "Oh well, I might never be here again, so I probably should." That said, it IS very expensive. My wife and I took my parents there in 2011 and I think it was just short of $200 to visit the place (even more as we had lunch there, which wasn't cheap at all).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2013 12:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Educational visits, to me at least, are generally limited to locals (otherwise, you're on vacation, and I'll get to that in a minute). Florida residents now through March 24 can purchase a four-pack — admission for four people of any age — for just $99.

As for those on vacation, for a family of four (two adults, two children), if one adult has an annual pass, then admission in total, with discounts, runs $180 (+tax).

Comparing that to a base admission ticket for one day at one Disney park (for example), the same family of four pays $344 (+tax).

So in comparison, KSCVC admission is not so massive a cost — especially in light of the fact that there is no shortage of people buying the $344 package 45 minutes away.

J.L
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posted 03-12-2013 12:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S taxpapers did not pay for Disney World. People should have economical access to visitor facilities at a government supported installation. Science and technology seem to take a back seat once a company like Delaware North takes over. It may be a sign of the times, but I don't think it is right.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2013 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
U.S. taxpayers don't pay for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex — it is entirely funded by concession and admission sales.

And as noted earlier, people just as quickly complain that taxpayer money shouldn't be used to pay for tourist attractions.

The money has to come from somewhere.

quote:
Originally posted by J.L:
Science and technology seem to take a back seat once a company like Delaware North takes over.
Delaware North operates the Visitor Complex for NASA, but the programming and attractions are decided by the space agency.

J.L
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posted 03-12-2013 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for J.L   Click Here to Email J.L     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
All points understood. I guess I am just old enough to be jaded by the fond memories I have of a free visitor center (except for the bus tour) that had plenty to see. The Saturn V Center has been a great addition, and I'm sure the Atlantis display will be first rate as well. I am saving up so that I can check it out later this year.

tfrielin
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posted 03-12-2013 01:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tfrielin   Click Here to Email tfrielin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
So in comparison, KSCVC admission is not so massive a cost — especially in light of the fact that there is no shortage of people buying the $344 package 45 minutes away.
In the mind of your average tourist, this is hardly a valid comparison. Disney = huge crowds; KSC = not so much.

A more valid comparison is to the National Air and Space Museum. Admission = Free.

While I understand the need for a concessionaire to administer the place, I agree with so many vox populi reviewers on Trip Advisor — KSC parking and admission fees are too high for what you receive.

Let's face it — there are just not all that many space fans out there and if it takes as much out of your wallet to tour KSC or go to a Major League baseball game, well, MLB will likely win out in the competition for limited entertainment/tourism bucks.

p51
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posted 03-12-2013 01:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
U.S. taxpayers don't pay for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex — it is entirely funded by concession and admission sales.
Yes, but the taxpayers DID pay for almost everything on display inside the visitor center. Delaware North didn't buy the Atlantis from NASA, now, did they?

Your point is well made, Robert, and I do agree with you. Just saying that the public doesn't see it quite that way, that they have to pay that much to see the things their tax dollars already paid for and are still owned by the government...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-12-2013 01:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are two questions being discussed here: cost and value.

Every person who goes to Disney can afford to go to Kennedy Space Center by nature of the fact that even the most basic ticket to Disney costs almost twice that of the KSCVC.

Most people who travel to central Florida on vacation are theme-park bound, and the majority of those are headed to Disney World.

So it is not a question of being able to afford to go to the KSCVC that is keeping Disney-bound guests from heading to the cape.

With regards to value, I suspect the issue is less one of the amount of content as it is one of the type of content. Disney is pure entertainment whereas Kennedy Space Center is at best perceived as enrichment.

Human nature suggests more people will seek out entertainment over enrichment.

In that sense, the National Air and Space Museum is a valid comparison, but only because tourists heading to Washington, DC are generally more enrichment focused. They are heading to the nation's capital to tour museums, monuments and federal buildings.

So yes, more people will likely head to a baseball game than to Kennedy Space Center — except when there is a well-publicized launch, when the liftoff is perceived to be a better show than the game — but that does not mean the Visitor Complex is empty on a typical day.

I visited the Visitor Complex twice in the past month, on days when there were no special events or launches scheduled. In both cases, the crowds were sizable, there were steady lines in the gift shop, and bus tours were departing regularly. So a healthy crowd does believe the cost is worth the value.

Another thing to keep in mind: more people are likely to go online to complain than to deliver praise. TripAdvisor and sites like it are populated by reviews written by people who were motivated to visit the site, register and post. A desire to complain is a stronger motivator than a desire to praise.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 03-13-2013 12:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps the National Air and Space Museum is not a valid comparison, since the majority of funds for Smithsonian's facilities come from federal appropriations.

In fact, in 2010, a draft report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended that the Smithsonian's annual federal appropriation be reduced by $225 million and that the loss be recouped through the imposition of admission fees at Smithsonian museums. (emphasis mine.)

Taxpayer dollars allow Smithsonian museums to be admission fee-free. The KSC Visitor Complex however, is run by a company.

robsouth
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posted 03-13-2013 05:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for robsouth     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last time I went to the KSC was for STS-77 in May 96 and it was free to park and get in the visitor centre, which resulted in me going there most days while I was staying near Orlando.

It was good to be able to just turn up, park and stroll in for free but I guess you get what you pay for because some of the attractions were a little ropey and the Saturn V was slowly turning green out by the VAB.

As for the issue of taxpayers complaining about having to pay, would you have one entrance payment policy for U.S. tax payers and one for none tax payers? You'd need two queues like at passport control!

crash
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posted 03-13-2013 06:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I see that KSCVC is being discussed but there is no mention of JSC. They charge too, you know.

I have had an annual pass for KSCVC for the last few years and have found it incredibly good value. I am in the very fortunate position of visiting Florida many times a year but I can never resist the lure of the Cape. I look forward to the opening of the Atlantis exhibit in June as I think I know the whole property so well that I could work there as a guide. I do wish they would make some of the special tours a bit earlier in the day or at least run a morning and afternoon tour.

Here in the UK we are accustomed to paying through the nose for most 'attractions'. Even some of the more mediocre sites have high entrance fees. Unfortunately, it is just life in general today and it is no good looking back to the 'good old days' as they are gone for good.

I look forward to seeing some of you in a queue out there some time soon!

gliderpilotuk
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posted 03-13-2013 06:13 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by robsouth:
As for the issue of taxpayers complaining about having to pay, would you have one entrance payment policy for U.S. tax payers and one for none tax payers?
I shouldn't be advocating this, as a non-US person, but having just come back from Argentina, every state owned/operated park and attraction has dual pricing for residents and non-residents (or triple in some cases, for Mercosur). I'm not so sure this is to benefit residents, as to milk the touristas, but it causes no disruption.

I agree with the premise that if you're in Orlando the cost is not that great compared to Disney for a one-off visit (although one day at the excellent Busch Gardens is only $23 more than KSCVC). The difference is that I'd happily go to many of the theme parks on repetitive visits, whereas on my upcoming trip to Florida I'd happily pass by KSC (having been there four times), were it not for my son wanting to visit.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-13-2013 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by crash:
I see that KSCVC is being discussed but there is no mention of JSC. They charge too, you know.
Though I doubt the public recognizes the difference, there is a distinction between the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and Space Center Houston.

The earlier (KSCVC) is NASA-owned and contractor operated; the latter is privately run by a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. SCH is neither owned or operated by NASA, though serves as Johnson Space Center's visitor center and is afforded access to tour guests through the center (the nearby Rocket Park, which is free to enter, is NASA-owned and the Saturn V belongs to the Smithsonian).

crash
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posted 03-13-2013 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for crash   Click Here to Email crash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the info, Robert. I wasn't aware of the difference and presumed that Delaware North was involved.

I look forward to revisiting SCH in the future as continued support for the US space program, by various means has got to be good even if the $$$ don't all get back to NASA.

JSC01
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posted 03-14-2013 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for JSC01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert any backstory on exactly why the KSC visitor center and SCH are set up so differently, when they seem to have such similar functions? I only ask because the KSC visitor center seems to always have sufficient funds for upgrades, expansions, etc.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-14-2013 09:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have the complete history, but from what I have been able to piece together, both Kennedy and Johnson space centers originally operated their own visitor centers (Johnson's was located in Building 2).

TWA was originally contracted in 1964 by Kennedy to provide on-site maintenance and utility support for the space center. When two years later it was decided to offer public tours, Kennedy needed a company to operate the buses and TWA was awarded the contract.

Kennedy's contract with Delaware North to take over the operation of both its visitor center and bus tours was first signed in 1995. The 10-year contract had an option for NASA to renew, which the agency chose to do in 2005.

Thus, the decision to have a contractor operate the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex grew out of an original need for bus tours.

I suspect, but do not know for certain, that the bus tours grew out of the traffic generated by launch spectators. If so, such a need would not have been as pressing in Houston.

The decision to open Space Center Houston in 1992 grew out of desire to provide a more interactive experience for visitors than the Building 2 static exhibits, as well as generate new enthusiasm for the manned space program.

Space Center Houston was financed by the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and built by BRC Imagination Arts (BRC also built the Apollo/Saturn V Center and Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy).

So while Kennedy's visitor center grew out of a response to the public's desire (spurred on by launches), Johnson's modern visitor center was driven by an intent to generate greater public interest.

p51
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posted 03-14-2013 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Space Center Houston was financed by the Manned Space Flight Education Foundation, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and built by BRC Imagination Arts (BRC also built the Apollo/Saturn V Center and Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy).
That explains why the JSC center is so different. My wife said it best as we walked back to the van from her first visit there when she said, "That whole place was set up for kids, there very little there an adult or serious space fan would find worthwhile," with the exception of the display area that had all the flown materials and the vault for the moon debris. She called Space Center Houston a 'kid's playground with a space theme' when compared to KSC's center, which she'd been to for the first time less than a year before so it was still fresh in her mind...

JSC01
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posted 03-14-2013 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JSC01     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Many folks do feel that way... without the Florida tourist flow, much of the facility seems designed to attract school field trips and locals. Kids do love that large interior playground!

SCH has made some very nice improvements and upgrades lately (most of which Rob has documented for us here). The SAIL lab will be a great new tour stop. The interior 'west' section of the facility has been gutted and repurposed as a very nicely done 'ISS section'. It has models, exhibits, flown artifacts, interactive exhibits about ISS science. The movies have all been redone and updated.

That said, there are a few other items I would really like completed at SCH/JSC that always seem to be lacking funding. Hence my question about the difference between the visitor centers...

What KSC manages to accomplish, to it's credit, is simply amazing. The Atlantis facility has gone from funding to structure in a very short time, AND it's been done right.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-16-2013 04:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the subject of admission fees, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is now running a promotion, offering four tickets for $120 (up to 33% savings) through March 23.

The discount tickets can be used for admission March 23 through April 7.

Frewi80
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posted 03-16-2013 09:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Frewi80   Click Here to Email Frewi80     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I was at KSC last September 2012, it was very disappointing, the "real" stuff seems to be missing and it was expensive too.

The bus-tour driver went fast around the VAB building and the parked crawlers and I was sitting on the wrong side of the bus to take pictures. He did not even slow down or even stop, but he did stop a few times to show us a bunch of crocodiles in the Cocoa river... I was really frustrated about that!

So much 'history' is not there. The Cape Canaveral Air Force Station has much more 'history' in that small museum. Also the museum on Main Street in Titusville offers more, both at no cost for parking or admission. But then I'm talking about the early space flight missions.

Now this is just my very personal point of view, as I want to get out of a tour bus and feel and touch all of this, By the way, the Cape Canaveral Air Force tour is a three hour experience!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-16-2013 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The included-with-admission bus tour slows for alligators and eagles because the general tour going public reacts to those sights and they generally occur outside of operational areas where stopping is less a hindrance to NASA workers.

Kennedy Space Center is a nature reserve so the preservation of the animal life in the area is part of its history.

If you want to view the Vehicle Assembly Building or crawlers in more detail, then the Visitor Complex offers the Up Close series of tours.

If you want to see the older pads located within the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, there is the Then and Now tour, as well as the Air Force Space & Missile Museum's tour, as mentioned.

Many people assume KSC and CCAFS are the same, and that NASA has equal access to both, but the Air Force controls visitor access to CCAFS; NASA only has say over the Kennedy Space Center.

mjanovec
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posted 03-17-2013 12:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The "KSC tour" that your $50 admission fee buys for you is basically nothing more than a shuttle bus that runs between the Visitor's Center, the Saturn V center, and the LC-39 Observation Gantry. Granted, some of the drivers will narrate part of the trip or play a video, but it's hardly a good way to see much of KSC.

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If you want to view the Vehicle Assembly Building or crawlers in more detail, then the Visitor Complex offers the Up Close series of tours.

For more money, of course ($25 for adults).

quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
If you want to see the older pads located within the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, there is the Then and Now tour

Again, for more money (another $25 for adults).

If you want to see the launch pads up close, budget another $25 for that tour. And if you want to see the launch control center, I hope you have another $25 in your pocket. Added to your $50 admission fee and $10 parking fee, that's $160 for one person to see the facilities that their tax dollars paid for.

Enjoy!

Jim Behling
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posted 03-17-2013 09:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
The "KSC tour" that your $50 admission fee buys for , that's $160 for one person to see the facilities that their tax dollars paid for.
Paying taxes is not sufficient reason to get access to the facilities. When was the time you got to go in a DOE national lab, Ohio class submarine, NIH labs, or even Vandenberg Air Force Base? There has to be a way to pay for the infrastructure to support the tours. Atlantis would not have a home if it weren't for the fees.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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posted 03-17-2013 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Agreed. Even with facilities one pays tax dollars for does not mean all-inclusive access. Trying sitting in the cockpit of an F-15 (or even getting onto a military base), using the public library after hours, or even getting into a public school "just because."

What would you like the $50 to pay for, besides the basic tour? The VAB was off-limits during the shuttle era.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-17-2013 10:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Another consideration: were the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (and other NASA visitor centers) solely taxpayer funded, then they would be subject to budget cuts, furloughs and sequesters.

Case in point: in the past, when the federal government has been "shut down," the Goddard Space Flight Center visitor complex has been closed as well.

And given NASA having to tighten its belt under the current sequestration — for example, it has had to curtail employee travel and support for conferences — a facility such as the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex would be hard pressed to keep operating while on-going space missions receive cutbacks.

And even without budget suspensions, NASA would find it very difficult to justify to Congress (and others) spending $100 million on a home for Atlantis...

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
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posted 03-17-2013 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
Paying taxes is not sufficient reason to get access to the facilities. When was the time you got to go in a DOE national lab, Ohio class submarine, NIH labs, or even Vandenberg Air Force Base?

You're twisting my argument to include facilities that are not open to the public (for legitimate reasons). Portions of KSC are made available to public, so therein lies the difference. If the government made the facilities you mentioned open for public tours, I would have the same complaint if they made that public access contingent on a $60-$160 fee.

quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
Atlantis would not have a home if it weren't for the fees.

I suspect the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio would disagree with you. They were willing to give Atlantis a home and not charge you a fee to see her. It's a national treasure that we all paid to construct. I would argue that we, as a nation, should all pay (through our taxes) to preserve her. That way we can make her available to all citizens...not just the ones who can afford it.

Trust me, I understand that all museums need to charge fees OR be funded through some revenue source, but I personally think it's ridiculous that an individual has to pay around $60-160 to enter KSC and see these national treasures owned by the American public. If Delaware North wants to operate a theme park next to KSC and center their operations around a gift shop and overpriced food, that should be an optional side attraction...not the main gateway to seeing our national treasures.

Of course, that's my own opinion and I don't expect every to agree.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 03-17-2013 05:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I suspect the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio would disagree with you. They were willing to give Atlantis a home and not charge you a fee to see her.
The National Museum of the U.S. Force is operated and funded by the Air Force. The Air Force, as a division of the Department of Defense, is significantly better funded than is NASA. Give NASA the same budget as the Air Force and I am sure they would gladly underwrite admission to all of its visitor centers.

As for Atlantis (or any shuttle), the Air Force was unable to commit to raising the funds required to reimburse NASA for delivery of the orbiter, as officials with the Dayton museum confirmed to the space agency shortly before the decision of the shuttles' homes was announced.

Jim Behling
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posted 03-17-2013 07:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mjanovec:
I would argue that we, as a nation, should all pay (through our taxes) to preserve her. That way we can make her available to all citizens...not just the ones who can afford it.
Congress and hence the nation disagrees with you. That is why NASA sent them to places that had sources of funding.

Also being "owned by" the American public does not mean it has to be available to the American public.

Additionally, the areas made available to the public on KSC only exist because there is a tour operator. And this tour operator uses the fees it collects to build and maintain the exhibits and operate the tours. It does not profit from the fees collected.

No fees, no buildings for the Saturn V or Atlantis or buses to see the center.

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-17-2013 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jim Behling:
Also being "owned by" the American public does not mean it has to be available to the American public.

I would agree to that in certain instances. But for certain national treasures, such as our space shuttles, I personally think public access is important. You may disagree and that's fine.


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