Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find answers to commonly asked questions about Patrick Air Force Base.  If your question relates specifically to Air Force Space Command, see the AFSPC Questions section. If you have a question which is not addressed here, you may find the answer by visiting the Questions page of Air Force Link. If you have a general military question, please refer to the Department of Defense Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Does the Air Force launch the space shuttle?

No. The Space Shuttle is launched from Kennedy Space Center. The Air Force launches only expendable launch vehicles from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Both facilities launch the Delta II, Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles. The Space Shuttle program ended in August 2011.

 

Is the 45th Space Wing a part of NASA?

No. The 45th Space Wing is an Air Force organization assigned to Air Force Space Command. The wing provides support forNASA's activities at Kennedy Space Center.

Can a military retiree or the public visit Cape Canaveral's cultural and historical resources?

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a restricted-access area and not open to the general public.

 

Doesn't the Cape belong to NASA?

No. Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, the site of many historic launches, is a detachment of Patrick Air Force Base and is the East Coast space launch facility for the Department of Defense.  NASA owns the Kennedy Space Center, which is in Merritt Island, Fla., next to Cape Canaveral AFS.

 

I am a badged employee at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Can I bring a guest or family member onto the Cape?

Presently only badged personnel are allowed access to the Cape. No family or personal tours are permitted at this time. Call Cape Security for more information at 321-494-1110.




 

Is the Cape ever open to the public?

Due to a heightened security posture it is uncertain when this may happen again. The 45th Space Wing does not offers tours of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

 

Who is eligible to get on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station?

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is a restricted-access area and not open to the general public. Only personnel with a Cape badge are allowed access (DoD and/or military ID cards do not qualify as a Cape badge).

Can the public watch the launches?

The public is welcome to watch any launch; however, there are no open/public viewing facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station similar to those used for space shuttle launches due to the location of our launch facilities and safety concerns. Launches may be viewed along the majority of the beach areas in Brevard County. The following are a few public viewing locations:

-State Road 528 or the Beach Line Expressway, the commuter road from Orlando to Titusville. Approaching Port Canaveral, a view of the launch pads on CCAFS may be seen from the Indian and Banana Rivers. It is recommended that anyone wishing to view a launch from SR 528 find a safe location where traffic will not be impeded.

-Off State Road A1A along the Atlantic Ocean in Cocoa Beach.

-Along the Indian River on U.S. Highway 1, between SR 405 and 402 (near Titusville). This location should provide the best view of the new Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

-Boaters viewing launches should tune to Channel 16 VHF-FM for instructions from the Coast Guard pertaining to restricted areas. The Coast Guard will patrol those areas in the rivers and offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Boaters will not be permitted north of marker 15 on the Banana River (where the high wires cross the river). Boaters may not enter the southern part of Mosquito Lagoon (past the Haulover Canal). However, the canal, part of the Intracoastal Waterway, will remain open to traffic. Boaters may not set foot on any land that is part of CCAFS or Kennedy Space Center.

Note: The sites are suggestions only; there are other locations to watch launches.

 

Do most of the rockets launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carry classified satellites?

No. In fact, the lion's share of our launches are not classified. Only certain missions are classified in the interest of national security.

 

What type of rockets does the Air Force launch?

The Air Force launches Delta IV and Atlas V vehicles from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The Atlas V and the Delta IV are United Launch Alliance's new "Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles" or EELVs.

 

Why are these rockets launched?

Most rockets launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station carry military and commercial satellites. A few carry scientific satellites and other types of payloads for NASA.

 

With the end of the "Cold War" why is the military launching satellites?

The military uses space systems for navigation, weather, communications and reconnaissance purposes. Even with the end of the Cold War, the need for these systems continues to support worldwide military contingencies. Space systems are in use by troops deployed in Southwest Asia, on relief operations and other military deployments across the globe. Space systems are an integral part of the Air Force's philosophy of "Global Engagement."