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The Future Lands for Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Accompanied by a New Hotel Opening

An attraction that has been years in the making has finally been cleared for takeoff at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) in Florida.
Gateway™: The Deep Space Launch Complex formally opened to the public Wednesday with a grand opening ceremony attended by Delaware North CEO Jerry Jacobs Jr., KSCVC Chief Operating Officer Therrin Protze and Janet Petro, director of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center, along with invited guests, partners and local dignitaries.
With a focus on the present and future of collaborative space exploration, guests to Gateway can experience the interstellar travel of tomorrow while celebrating everything happening right now within the space program. It features a showcase of NASA and commercial spacecraft hardware with immersive displays, as well as a “journey” through space and more.

Speaking at the grand-opening celebration, Jacobs commented: “We have always viewed our role here at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as telling the NASA story – and not just telling the story but bringing the epic story of the U.S. space program to life. The past, the present and the future.

“‘Space Tourism’ used to be a science fiction concept, but the evolution of technology has made it a reality.

“Gateway is designed to allow guests to imagine the space travel of the future, while celebrating what is happening right now in the space program and space exploration.”

The 50,000-square-foot attraction is the latest addition to KSCVC, which Delaware North has operated for NASA since 1995.

“From the Rocket Garden right outside these doors to Atlantis right behind this building, our Visitor Complex paints a picture of the rich history of human space flight.” said Petro, also thanking Delaware North for its development of Gateway and work to continuously enhance KSCVC. “But what’s so special about this attraction is that we are giving the public a front row seat as the next chapter—the future—is being written.”

Protze added: “Gateway is a bold new attraction where guests will personally experience NASA’s next giant leap and beyond, highlighting all the excitement within the space industry.

“Guests can peek at the future of space travel with Spaceport KSC, an immersive experience with multiple journeys along which to travel and learn through a thrilling simulated space flight.”

Afterward, hundreds of visitors who had lined up at the main entrance prior to KSCVC’s 9 a.m. opening streamed into the new attraction.

Featuring a comprehensive collection of modern-day spacecraft, Gateway gives guests the chance to see the airport of the future and experience the future of space travel in ways never before possible. Through immersive education, atmospheric effects and a motion theater, guests see, hear and feel what it’s like to travel in space.

The striking façade of the Gateway building is designed to capture attention and spark imagination even before entering. The outside walls are accented with iridescent panels of bright turquoise that alternate with shades of purple, replicating the constant motion and brilliant colors of the universe.
Upon entering Gateway, “space travelers” are greeted with a futuristic design setting the stage for their journey. Visitors are surrounded by actual flight flown artifacts and full-scale models, placed around the floor and suspended from above to allow 360-degree viewing and interaction.
In addition to offering a “nose-to-nose” view of the SpaceX Falcon 9 booster, Gateway’s second floor features a 30-foot, floor-to-ceiling Robotic Space Explorers Interactive Wall with interactive, touchscreen displays, where guests can learn about 40 different satellites and probes in space.

Guests can also visit the HoloTube presentation station to learn about the high-powered James Webb Space Telescope by manipulating holographic imagery, video and animation through a touchscreen kiosk.
At Spaceport KSC, guests are transported to an airport of the future, hearing the atmospheric airport chatter and seeing distant views of active launches and landings through the galactic spaceport windows.

The main concourse showcases destination, departure and arrival information. Guests then board “spaceships” – in the form of a two-story, motion theater – for one of four journeys: Cosmic Wonders, Daring Explorers, Red Planet or Uncharted Worlds. Each distinct destination allows for the possibility of a different experience with each visit.
Plus, guests can refuel their energy at Space Bowl Bistro, a new restaurant featuring Bistro Bowls, including refreshing acai bowls and choose-your-protein savory bowls.

New Hotel Opens on Florida’s Space Coast

Meanwhile, a new hotel with rooftop bar offering the closest views of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, its launch pads and the adjacent visitors’ complex has opened its doors.

The hotel features a rooftop bar and restaurant, resort-style pool and other amenities in a convenient location.

The five-floor Courtyard Titusville Kennedy Space Center, developed and operated by global hospitality and entertainment company Delaware North, opened in April.

Amenities for Leisure and Business Travelers
The hotel is quickly becoming popular for both aerospace workers and families and other leisure tourists.

It features 152 rooms, including 14 extended and one-bedroom guest suites and eight ground floor walkout rooms, four of which have firepits. Each room is decorated with space-themed items and graphics, including large wall murals of photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Rooms also feature floor-to-ceiling windows.

The large outdoor resort-style pool has a children’s section, hot tub, cabanas and a bar. Other features include a 700-square-foot meeting room, 2,200 total square feet of indoor and outdoor patio/lawn/tent event space, patio fire pits and Adirondack seating clusters, a spacious fitness center overlooking the Indian River, charging stations for electric cars and access to walking and biking trails along the shoreline.

The exterior of the hotel features color-shifting exterior tiles that change from blue to fuchsia depending on the angle of sunlight. Sustainability was a focus in developing the hotel, including stormwater treatment before discharge to the Indian River, tankless water heaters, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting with turn-off sensors for when spaces are unoccupied and large windows for increased natural light.

“We intentionally partnered with Marriott on this project, the gold standard for hotels and hospitality,” says Scott Socha group president for Delaware North’s parks and resorts division. “We wanted to build a hotel that is welcoming to families and leisure travelers to the Space Coast but also has the amenities needed to support the business travelers to the thriving space companies that are critical to this local economy.”  

Proximity to Space Coast Attractions
The hotel in Titusville is just off State Route 405 on the Indian River, part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. It’s only 40 miles from Orlando International Airport, and Interstate 95 and U.S. Route 1 interchanges are close by. Nearby attractions include The American Police Hall of Fame and Museum across the street and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore only minutes away.

But most prominent is the hotel’s proximity to Kennedy Space Center (7 miles) and Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (6.5 miles), which Delaware North operates for NASA. The hotel is the closest to the space center’s launch pads, Launch Complexes 39A and 39B.

Increased interest and activity in the space program prompted Delaware North to undertake the hotel project. The visitor complex this month is also launching a new two-day ticket to reflect the addition of programming and major attractions over the last decade, including Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing; Planet Play; Space Shuttle Atlantis®; and the new Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complex, which opened June 15. Another major part of admission is the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour with a stop at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

“We’re hopeful the hotel will help travelers enjoy longer visits to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex as a convenient and desirable accommodation just down the road,” adds Socha. “We’re proud to have worked with NASA to add many memorable and educational attractions to the visitor complex in the last decade. There is more than a day’s worth to see and experience there.”    

Bistro Restaurant and The Space Bar
The ground-floor Bistro in the spacious hotel lobby features a bar and outdoor seating and serves full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as Starbucks® products.

The signature feature is the rooftop deck housing The Space Bar, which offers an elevated evening experience and views. It can be accessed via an express elevator in the lobby.

“The Space Bar provides a unique dining and entertainment setting for local residents and visitors to the Space Coast,” says Wayne Soard, general manager of the hotel for Delaware North. “If offers once-in-a-lifetime views of rocket launches and a fun night out in a cool setting for corporate and association retreats, government meetings, weddings and other group events.”

Up to 250 guests can enjoy traditional table service, bar seating and casual lounge areas. Space-themed décor, including a large mural showing an Apollo moon landing, sets a cosmic ambiance for diners, and a retractable awning provides partially covered seating around the bar.

Delaware North is serving a broad menu of casual but chef-driven fare at The Space Bar, including salads, bowls, sandwiches, specialty desserts and space-inspired cocktails. Overseeing the culinary direction of The Space Bar and the hotel is Executive Chef Chris Chadwick, who has more than 20 years of experience in the premium hospitality sector. Chadwick, who most recently served as executive chef at The Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in Atlanta, is focused on using local ingredients to bring forth a distinctive Florida-Caribbean flavor for diners.  

The Space Bar’s full menu, along with additional information, can be found at Semiprivate catered events – such as corporate happy hours, holiday parties and rehearsal dinners – can also be booked in The Space Bar and other event spaces in the hotel.

The hotel is the first in Florida for Delaware North, which operates lodging properties across the United States and Australia. Delaware North also operates restaurants in hotels, national parks, airports, sports and entertainment complexes and commercial and cultural districts across the country, including at Disney World in Orlando through its Patina Restaurant Group.


  • Staff Reporter covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.

CAMFIL HVAC Filtration Solutions

Staff Reporter covers the latest news, trends and opinion from the facilities management (FM) and corporate real estate (CRE) sectors. The FM market is currently estimated to be worth USD 1 trillion annually and is projected to grow at a compounded annualised rate of approximately 5% between now and 2026.
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