SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster parked at KSC Visitor Complex

Rocket hardware on display ahead of VP's visit

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Photos of the Falcon Heavy side booster parked in front of the Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex taken on February 18, 2018. (Photos by Michael Seeley / We Report Space)

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests going to see Space Shuttle Atlantis will have to pass the future in spaceflight before entering the complex's No. 1 attraction.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster used in the first text flight of the new heavy lift vehicle is on display at the visitors' complex this week.

SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket Feb. 6 from NASA's Kennedy Space Center, sending a cherry red Tesla roadster on a tour of the solar system as the test payload. More than 100,000 people came out to watch the 20 story-tall rocket ascend into the clear blue sky over the Atlantic Ocean.

The rocket was equipped with three first-stage cores, two of which landed back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base after launch, while one crash landed in the Atlantic Ocean. One of the recovered boosters is what Kennedy Space Center visitors are seeing this week.

The booster on display was not only flown with Falcon Heavy, but also on a previous Falcon 9 launch. The two SpaceX rockets can use much of the same hardware, including the boosters.

The soot-covered, flight-proven rocket hardware was rolled in front of the Atlantis Exhibit at the beginning of the week. It will remain there until after Vice President Mike Pence's visit for the National Space Council meeting.

Pence arrives Tuesday evening on Air Force Two, which will land at the former Space Shuttle Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center. The second-in-command will take a tour of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station launch facilities and take part in a commercial spaceflight reception.

At 10 a.m. Wednesday, the vice president will lead the second annual meeting of the National Space Council, titled, “Moon, Mars, and Worlds Beyond: Winning the Next Frontier."

Photographer Michael Seeley was visiting the complex Monday and captured the photos (above) of the historic hardware.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex officials say it will be there through the end of Wednesday.

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