Launch Viewing Plans for SpaceX-10 and Flight of SSEP Mission 9 Endeavor

All NEWLY updated information is in GREEN TEXT below.
Information still to be determined is in RED TEXT below.
Dates and times that are subject to change at NASA’s discretion are in PURPLE TEXT below.

Last update of this page: February 17 at 2:47 pm EST


Launch planning is based on the currently scheduled liftoff of
SpaceX CRS-10:
Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10:01 am EST
NASA Consolidated Launch Schedule)

This page provides logistical information for the SSEP delegations traveling down to the launch of the Mission 9 to ISS Endeavor experiments payload aboard SpaceX CRS-10, currently scheduled for liftoff at 10:01 a.m. EST, February 18, from Space Launch Complex 39A (SLC-39), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Currently, we have 204 attending (48 SSEP Student Researchers, 35 teachers/administrators, 93 family members, and 28 other stakeholders) from 9 communities: East Lyme, CT; Hillsborough County, FL; Boise, ID; Traverse City, MI; Springfield, NJ; Buffalo-Niagara, NY; North Charleston, SC; Knox County, TN; and Bellevue, WA.

Dress code: all delegates are advised that dress code is business casual, e.g., slacks, shirt with collar (no T-shirts or sneakers).

GENERAL CONTACT: for general questions about activities prior to the launch, please contact SSEP Assistant Flight Operations Manager John Hamel at or call 434-882-5177.  John Hamel will be on site to lead the SSEP delegation at the launch of SpaceX CRS-10. If you have any questions or need additional guidance once in Florida, please contact John, cell: 434-882-5177 or via email:

DOWNLOAD MAP of Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex

A. Basic Travel Information

1. Airline and Airport

Where should folks fly in? NASA recommends to their guests that they fly into Orlando given it is serviced by multiple carriers. You can certainly try flying in to Melbourne, which is closer, but flights are far more limited.

However, we strongly advise you to use Southwest, which only flies into Orlando. Here is why—

Everyone traveling to Florida needs to be aware that you’re planning a trip—with significant expense—to see a historic event that may not happen on the date it is scheduled. You may book travel and then find a day later that the launch is postponed. Or … everything is going just fine, you get to Florida and then you find the launch is delayed (“scrubbed”) to a date after your scheduled departure, and you’d like to stay a few more days in the hope of seeing the launch. The main problem is airfare. For most carriers, if you book at their cheap, non-refundable rate, and you need to make a change, you’ll pay a significant change fee per ticket (typically $150) AND you’ll need to pay the difference between the fare you already paid and the new fare. The new fare could be $1,000 or more higher than your original purchase price given most carriers dramatically increase the cost of a ticket as you get closer to the travel date. With the change fee, you might be looking at a $1,200 per ticket added cost—on top of the original price you paid! But that is not the case with Southwest—

If you book on line, Southwest offers Wanna Get Away non-refundable fares which are very reasonable. If you need to change your flight, there is no change fee, and you can try to get another cheap Wanna Get Away far if they are still available. If not, you can get their refundable Anytime fare, which is still reasonable and likely the highest price fare you’d need to get. The Anytime fare for the same flight does not change as you get closer to the travel date. For a flight change you pay the price difference between the fares. That means you know right now what the likely worst potential added cost of a change would be. Also, the Anytime fare is refundable. So if you end up making a flight change from a Wanna Get Away to an Anytime ticket, but then end up not going to Florida (say the launch is delayed yet again to a date you cannot attend), you can get reimbursed for the difference between the Wanna Get Away fare and the Anytime fare.

You cannot beat Soutwest’s fare structure if you need to build into your thinking that the launch can slip—and you DO need to build that into your thinking.

2. General Information – KSC Visitor Complex

The KSCVC provides access to a number of attractions, including: the Shuttle Launch Experience (a launch simulation), IMAX films, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame (including interactive spaceflight simulators), the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the Kennedy Space Center Tour, and the newly arrived, retired Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Take the KSCVC Virtual Tour

Here is general visitor information for the KSCVC:

General admission is $50 adult/$40 child (ages 3-11) plus tax

You can add behind-the-scenes tours, KSC Up-Close Launch Control Center Tour, KSC Up-Close Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour and KSC Up-Close Explore Tour. The added cost of a behind-the-scenes tour is $25 adult/$19 child (ages 3-11) plus tax.

Important notes:
a. You must pay KSCVC general admission even if you only want to take a behind-the-scenes tour.

b. General admission tickets include a second day free for use at the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, if used within seven days.

c. Behind-the-scenes tours can book up well in advance of your trip, particularly when close to a launch day, so reserve a tour in advance of your trip!

d. To book reservations for general admission and a behind-the-scenes tour call 888-737-5235.

3. Hotels

We have identified a number of hotels in the area. When booking a hotel, make sure to find out what happens to your commitment of payment if the launch date slips before you arrive in Florida.

Jump to the Hotels page.


B. The SSEP Launch Plan for SpaceX CRS-10

1. Key Thinking for Planning

Fly in as late as possible before the launch so that if the launch is delayed by just one or two days, there is still an opportunity to see the launch if folks can schedule to be in Florida for a few days. However, we strongly advise you NOT to fly in the day of the launch, which will likely cause you to miss it due to flight delays or traffic. In addition, for a morning launch, there is no ability for you to fly in on the same day and get to NASA Kennedy on time. The recommendation is therefore to fly in the day before launch, and extend your stay until at least the day after launch.

2. Viewing the Launch – Banana Creek and KARS Park I

As part of our strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks, LLC, SSEP was offered limited seating to view the launch at the Banana Creek viewing site. SSEP determined that the best way to distribute those seats to the communities traveling to Florida to view the launch was to offer them to the flight team Student Researchers and one chaperone. Once each community decided if they wanted to take advantage of these seats, they submitted the list of Student Researchers and the name of the chaperone to SSEP.

SSEP delegation members that are not viewing the launch from Banana Creek will view the launch from KARS Park I.  KARS Park I is located on the south portion of the Kennedy Space Center and should provide attendees with a good view of the launch. Download a map with viewing locations, and distances from the launch pad.

3. Viewing the Launch – Banana Creek

On the day of the launch SSEP delegations that will be viewing the launch from Banana Creek, will meet at the ATX Center parking lot, 6225 Vectorspace Boulevard, Titusville, FL 32780 to board the buses that will transport the attendees to the viewing site. Please note that you do not need a special permit and there is no charge to park in the ATX parking lot.

The tentative schedule for launch day:

8:00 – 8:15 a.m.: Guests arrive at ATX Center
8:15 a.m.: Security and bus boarding
8:30 a.m.: Buses depart for Banana Creek
8:45 a.m.: Arrive at Banana Creek
10:01 a.m.: LAUNCH of SpaceX CRS-10
10:30 a.m.: Guests return to buses
10:45 a.m.: Buses depart for ATX Center
11:00 a.m.: Buses arrive at ATX Center

Please make sure you early to ensure proper check in. The buses will NOT wait for you if you are late. All guests over the age of 18 will need to provide official government photo ID. At check in, guests will receive a badge with a lanyard, an information package, and a limited-access ticket to the KSC visitor complex that is valid through one-day after launch.

4. Viewing the Launch – KARS Park I

The SSEP delegation that will view the launch from KARS Park I will meet at the park. The address is 1300 East Hall Road, Merritt Island, Florida. When you pull up to the Guard Post, tell them that you are with the SSEP delegation and they will let you through. Please note that you do not need a special permit and there is no charge to park in the parking lot.

The tentative schedule for launch day:

8:30 – 9:00 a.m.: Guests arrive at KARS Park I
9:00 – 9:30 a.m.: Guests are free to explore the park
9:30 – 10:00 a.m.: Guests gather on the Fishing Pier to view the launch
10:01 a.m.: LAUNCH of SpaceX CRS-10
10:30 – 10:45 p.m.: Guests depart KARS Park I

Once you arrive at KARS Park, you can explore the property until it is time to gather on the Fishing Pier to view the launch. There is a small store on site that offers drinks and souvenirs. Restroom facilities are also available. Beginning at 9:30 a.m., please start moving towards the Fishing Pier for the launch viewing (we have been told that this will be the best spot), so that we can ensure that all SSEP delegates have a spot on the pier.

5. FAQs

How far is the ATX Center from KARS Park I?
The ATX Center, the meeting place for Banana Creek attendees, is about 17 miles from KARS Park I.

How far is the launch pad from Banana Creek?
The Banana Creek viewing site is approximately 3.5 miles from the launch pad.

How far is the launch pad from KARS Park I?
KARS Park I is approximately 12 miles from the launch pad.

From KARS Park, can you see SpaceX-10 on the pad, or only when it blasts off?
Since SpaceX-10 will be launching from launch pad 39A, we aren’t sure if you will be able to see it on the pad, which is 12 miles away. We recommend you bring binoculars!

Is KARS Park the view we’re used to seeing on TV, where you see the big Countdown Clock is in the foreground?
No, that is the Kennedy Press Site, which is 4 miles from the pad.

How far a walk will it be from the parking lot to the fishing pier? We’re trying to figure out what we can carry.
It is a short walk to the fishing pier from the parking lots.

6. Tentative Schedule

[Friday, February 17] Launch minus 1 Day

SSEP community attendees fly in

Note: if you live in parts of the nation where air travel to Florida takes significant time, you should not take a chance on flying in on the day of the scheduled launch for fear of missing the launch due to flight delays, waiting at the car rental location at the airport, or travel time from the airport in possibly significant traffic.

[Saturday, February 18] Launch Day at Banana Creek and KARS Park I

See Banana Creek and KARS Park I schedules listed above

[Sunday, February 19] Launch plus 1 Day

Back up launch day in case of a 24 hour scrub. Launch time is 9:38 a.m.



The Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) is a program of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) in the U.S., and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education internationally. It is enabled through a strategic partnership with DreamUp PBC and NanoRacks LLC, which are working with NASA under a Space Act Agreement as part of the utilization of the International Space Station as a National Laboratory. SSEP is the first pre-college STEM education program that is both a U.S. national initiative and implemented as an on-orbit commercial space venture.