Read all about Florida´s Brevard County 80 rocket launches!

The Space Coast Astronaut Itinerary



The space theme is omnipresent in Florida´s Brevard County with approximately 80 rocket launches taking place this year and the advance of the Artemis space programme with Artemis II scheduled to orbit the moon with a crewed test flight in November 2024.

Meanwhile on the Space Coast visitors can sample life as an astronaut by partaking on an astronaut-themed itinerary. The Mercury Astronauts each purchased a Corvette for US$1 from a local dealer to drive around Cocoa Beach. Today Space Coast Slingshots rents Polaris Slingshot vehicles with pre-programmed itineraries for exploring the area; visitors can choose between half-day, full-day and overnight rental.

In 1965 astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich into space on the Gemini 3 mission causing a scandal with NASA at the time, this was commemorated when corned beef returned on the first space-shuttle flight in 1981 in more suitable bite-size cubes. Nowadays a Mahi Ruben sandwich can be enjoyed all along the Space Coast, such as at Crackers Island Grille in Cape Canaveral and Rusty´s Seafood and Oyster Bar at Port Canaveral. Typical astronaut dessert is the freeze dried ice cream to be found at the Kennedy Space Center, while the mobile Cosmos Ice Cream Truck is a double decker bus serving cold, creamy, nitrogen-infused ice cream around the region.

One of the final remnants of the 1960s space race is the Mouse Trap Bar at the Cocoa Beach Fish Camp Grill, which astronauts frequented at that time; the bar is still home to some space-race memorabilia. Another popular spot with the astronauts in those days is The Alibi in Cocoa Beach, which nowadays offers handcrafted cocktails, fine wines, craft beer and small plates. The original astronauts hung out at the old Canaveral Pier; today visitors can enjoy a tropical cocktail at the Riki Tiki Tavern at the end of the Cocoa Beach Pier watching surfers carve the waves below. Another popular spot is Alan Shepard Park, named after “America´s First Astronaut” located behind Ron Jon Surf Shop on State Road 520.

Ultimate space enthusiasts cannot forgo a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex with the rocket garden, Space Shuttle Atlantis, a launch simulator, the bus tour across the NASA grounds past the launch pads to the Apollo/Saturn V Center as well as the IMAX movies. Visitors can enhance their stay by adding the Astronaut Training Experience or even engage with a  Chat with an Astronaut.  

A hidden space gem can be found in Titusville in the American Space Museum and Space Walk of Fame curated with artifacts and memorabilia donated by astronauts and their families as well as the space workers themselves.

Finally, the ultimate experience for visitors is witnessing a rocket launch; there have been 53 so far this year!

Florida's Space Coast Office of Tourism website features the next launch, the best viewing sites and the Space Coast Launches app with 24-hour and T minus 5-minute notifications, a compass and a live feed to the countdown. 

Posted on: 11/10/2023

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