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  KSC Then & Now Tour suspended (May 2015)

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Author Topic:   KSC Then & Now Tour suspended (May 2015)
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 33951
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-13-2015 07:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Due to a heightened threat level affecting all U.S. military installations, NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has had to suspend operation of the KSC Up-Close Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour effective immediately.

The Then and Now tour took guests to Launch Complex 26, the Air Force Space & Missile Museum, Launch Complex 5/6, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and Launch Complex 34.

At this time, the Visitor Complex does not know when the Then and Now tour will be able to resume. The suspension does not affect the other Up Close tours.

Tony Guidry
Member

Posts: 21
From: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Registered: Jun 2009

posted 05-13-2015 10:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tony Guidry   Click Here to Email Tony Guidry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am disappointed to hear that news since my wife and I are planning to be at the KSC Visitor Complex for the Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Saturday, May 30th and we were planning on taking the Then and Now Tour the following day. Guess we will just have to modify our plans a bit.

We have taken that tour numerous times over the past 30 years of visiting KSC but always seem to enjoy it. Regretfully, in recent years, they have removed Launch Complex 14 (Mercury orbital missions) and Complex 19 (Gemini missions) from the tour. I inquired about this and was told by a KSC tour guide that the heavy tour buses are no longer allowed to travel on the access roads to these launch pads because the roads are not in the best of shape and were not designed to handle those heavy bus traffic loads.

The tour buses used to be allowed to travel by the Complex 14 blockhouse and actually circle the launch pad. You can still get a brief glimpse of the Complex 19 blockhouse from the main road.

The rest of the tour is still interesting and informative, especially for those of us with an interest in the history of U.S. manned spaceflight. I hope they can resume offering the tour soon.

Dhb
New Member

Posts: 6
From: Elk, Wa., USA
Registered: Jan 2015

posted 06-06-2015 10:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dhb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am a frequent visitor and reader of collectSPACE, but rarely post. I plan to visit KSC in October and after seeing this post on the Then and Now bus tour being suspended, I called KSC and was told they would resume the tour on June 6. Any updates from you all would be appreciated.

Dhb
New Member

Posts: 6
From: Elk, Wa., USA
Registered: Jan 2015

posted 06-11-2015 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dhb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Update on the Then and Now Tour: I did indeed call last post and was told the tour would reopen June 6, but a couple of days after calling, a notice appeared on the KSC tour website page announcing the tour was suspended until further notice.

I just called the KSC visitor center this morning, June 11 and the gal answering did not know anything about it — didn't even know it was suspended. I figure she was perhaps a counter sales worker. Any rate I hope and trust the tour will be back in service by October when I visit.

First time for me to visit the Space Coast, a NASA space nut who used to camp out in front of the rabbit eared tv set for days watching all I could of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Really want to get to the Canaveral Air Force Museum, I'm more interested in that then whats at KSC.

If anyone finds out anything, please post, I'm also viewing the websites of the nearby tv stations for updates.

Ronpur
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Posts: 851
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 11-11-2015 07:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is this tour still suspended?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33951
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-11-2015 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Judging by the visitor complex's website, yes. The tour is no longer listed as one of the options for guests.

The website for the Air Force Space and Missile museum, one of the stops on the (former) Then & Now tour, still states:

Due to heightened security at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the Museum located at Launch Complex 26 is temporarily unavailable to visitors and bus tours.

MCroft04
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Posts: 1409
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 11-11-2015 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm pretty sure that tour was not being offered when I was there this weekend.

Ronpur
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Posts: 851
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 11-11-2015 04:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was afraid of that, I was really hoping to go back to the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. The whole arrangement with them really sucks. When we took the tour, we were so rushed and had no time to look at the exhibits or even look at the missiles.

SpaceKSCBlog
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Posts: 119
From: Merritt Island, FL
Registered: Nov 2011

posted 11-12-2015 06:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceKSCBlog   Click Here to Email SpaceKSCBlog     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The decision to suspend the Cape tour was made by the USAF bureaucracy, not the KSC Visitor Complex. KSCVC can only offer a tour if the USAF permits it.

I and others have reached out through various elected officials trying to bring attention to the situation. So far, no results. The elected officials did contact the Cape commander's office, but were not successful in convincing them to resume the tour.

For what it's worth, we researched the status of tours on other space-related USAF bases. The Cape is the only one that refuses to permit any tours.

About all I can suggest is that, if you want the Cape tour to resume, you contact your representatives in Congress.

Ronpur
Member

Posts: 851
From: Brandon, Fl
Registered: May 2012

posted 11-13-2015 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ronpur   Click Here to Email Ronpur     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I am guessing the answer is no, but is there anyway to get to the U.S. Air Force Space & Missile Museum? No escorted visits or anything? I just hate the idea of this place just rotting away because it can't get funds or visitors.

Ironman One
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Posts: 63
From: Ormond Beach, FL USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 12-29-2015 12:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ironman One   Click Here to Email Ironman One     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With the increased security level still in effect, the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station tour is scheduled to resume Jan. 4, 2016.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33951
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-30-2015 08:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A new Cape Canaveral Lighthouse tour begins Jan. 8 from Sunward Tours, Florida Today reports. For ticket and information call 321-453-3994.
Tours of the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse and other sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station will be conducted on Fridays and Saturdays beginning at 8:30 a.m., departing from Exploration Tower in Port Canaveral in air-conditioned buses. The three-hour tour will cost $27 per person.

...in addition to the lighthouse, the tours include stops at Air Force Space and Missile History Center and at two historic launch complexes, as well as a drive by others. The tour also includes admission to Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral.

Visitors will also have access to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station through Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex tours.
"Additionally, we have partnered with NASA's Delaware North contractor to provide historic CCAFS tours as a way to allow access to historic sites for folks from around the world who can see where space history began and continues today," Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, said.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 33951
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-03-2016 10:33 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's Up Close Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour is again available as of Feb. 11, 2016.
Tour stops include:
  • Launch Complex 26: The launch site of Explorer 1 where the blockhouse retains the authentic consoles used to launch America’s first Redstone rockets.

  • Air Force Space & Missile Museum: Browse artifacts, including an authentic German V-2 rocket engine, as well as models and displays recounting America’s first missiles, satellites and launch vehicles.

  • Launch Complex 5/6: Alan Shepard made history as the first American to launch into space from here on May 5, 1961. Inside the blockhouse, everything is just as it was that historic day more than 50 years ago.

  • Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, home of many space-related landmarks, also includes a barely noticeable domed bunker a short distance from the road. The remains of Space Shuttle Challenger — which broke apart 73 seconds into flight STS-51-L — were laid to rest here.

  • Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is the striped landmark which led to the turn of events responsible for locating America’s space program at Cape Canaveral.

  • Launch Complex 14: John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, launched from here.

  • Launch Complex 19: Site of 10 successful crewed Gemini missions.

  • Launch Complex 34: Three astronauts – Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White II and Roger B. Chaffee – lost their lives in a capsule fire during a test for Apollo 1 on Jan. 27, 1967.

Tony Guidry
Member

Posts: 21
From: Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Registered: Jun 2009

posted 02-03-2016 10:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tony Guidry   Click Here to Email Tony Guidry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Robert, that is great news to hear! We plan on being at KSC again this year for the Astronaut Hall of Fame Induction on May 14. We have taken this tour numerous times over the years and always enjoyed it.

The announcement appears to indicate that Launch Complexes 14 and 19 will now be stops on the tour. Can you confirm this? Will guests now be allowed to disembark the bus at these stops, as is permitted at other stops on the tour?

During past tours, only once, as I recall, did the bus actually leave the main road and travel on the access road to the blockhouse and circle the Pad at Complex 14. In recent years, I was told by a KSC tour guide that the heavy tour buses were no longer allowed to travel down the access roads, since the old roadways were not in the best of shape and were not designed to handle the weight of a large bus loaded with tourists.

As far as Complex 19 is concerned, I was told that, due to environmental contamination at the site, no public access was available. It's my understanding that a clean-up of the site was completed in recent years so, hopefully, they might now allow the tours to have access to it again.

Regardless, we will be looking forward to, again, taking the tour in May. Thanks for the update.

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