Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reopens days ahead of historic launch

SpaceX will launch humans into space Saturday for the first time since 2011

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reopened on Thursday after closing more than two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex reopened on Thursday after closing more than two months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Several safety precautions were put in place as guests were welcomed back in a limited fashion.

During the initial reopening, the capacity to the visitor complex is capped at 50% and guests are required to have a timed ticket to help limit the number of people in one area at a time.

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"We do highly recommend that they go on the website and time their ticket, so we're trying to pulse it so it's a situation where we're not hit at one time," CEO Therrin Protze said.

All employees and guests are also required to wear face coverings and undergo a temperature screening before entering.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

"It's a little hot, but we're fine and I appreciate everybody being really careful so that we can come and still learn things," visitor Holly Macmillan said.

Once inside, there are markings for travel flow, increased hand sanitizing stations and signage with reminders about the changes.

"We have barricades where needed to make sure folks monitor social distancing as well as those floor graphics in areas," Protze said.

Officials said many exhibits are open, but others, such as theaters, bus tours, playgrounds and simulators remain closed due to social distancing concerns.

With limited offerings, the visitor complex has reduced ticket prices to $30, which also includes a complimentary ticket to return in 2021.

“The return ticket is hopefully they want to come back when we’re fully operational, so they get a little bit of a taste of what we have here,” Protze said.

NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley will launch from Kennedy Space Center as SpaceX prepares to become the first private company to send humans into orbit and onto the International Space Station.

Ahead of SpaceX’s second Demo-2 launch attempt, space fans can see live views of the Falcon 9 rocket at Kennedy Space Center leading up to the historic countdown.

Rocket launch viewing inside Kennedy Space Center remains closed, but guests will be allowed to watch a launch from inside the visitor complex. Officials said tickets for Saturday sold out after Wednesday’s rocket launch scrub.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

[MORE: Calm under pressure: 2 NASA astronauts prepare to return glory of human spaceflight to America | Here’s how the weather could impact the historic astronaut launch]

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.