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Cape Canaveral Kennedy Space Center
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Here’s how you can spend the day with a real-life astronaut

Kennedy Space Center is making it happen for a lucky few

Erika Mailman
Written by
Erika Mailman

So many of us fantasized about becoming astronauts when we were growing up—and now there’s an experience at Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Florida, where you can get very close with an insider tour of the facilities led by an actual veteran NASA astronaut. It’s called Fly with an Astronaut and it involves spending five hours with an astronaut friend who will guide you in exploring behind the gates of the Kennedy Space Center as part of a small group limited to 43 people.

You’ll get to see the space shuttle Atlantis, permanently housed at Kennedy, and ride around the complex on a bus to see all the sites here at this incredible facility, such as artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space missions.

A private catered lunch is included, as is a trip on the Shuttle Launch Experience® with the astronaut (lunch + launch? We’re sold.) The immersive experience lets you feel the force of bursting into space at 17,500 miles per hour.

You’ll hear all about your astronaut’s journey from Florida’s Space Coast to the stars: all the personal anecdotes you can’t get otherwise. And the astronaut will do a Q&A so you can ask anything you’ve ever been burning to ask, like “What does space smell like?”

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Photograph: Courtesy Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

And you get a special souvenir pin to go home with.

You’re probably wondering how much this will set you back—and it’s not that expensive for everything it entails. For adults, it’s $206, and for kids aged 3 to 11, it’s $181. The price includes regular admission to the center. You might feel better about that ticket price knowing that Kennedy Space Center is a completely visitor-funded Smithsonian affiliate.

If you’ve been to Kennedy before, you now have another reason to visit. A new exhibit called "Gateway" opened last summer that lets you walk among vehicles that were already flown in space, explore extraterrestrial habits and take an immersive “flight” on Spaceport KSC. Finally, this year, more than 80 rockets are supposed to launch from this special area of Florida. Odds are, you could time your visit to catch this extraordinary sight.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Photograph: Courtesy Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

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