The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the U.S. government installation that manages and operates America’s astronaut launch facilities.
Serving as the base for the country’s three space shuttles, the NASA field center also conducts unmanned civilian launches from adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (operated by the 45th Space Wing). KSC has been the launch site for every U.S. human space flight since December 1968. Its iconic Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) is the fourth-largest structure in the world by volume and was the largest when completed in 1965.
Located on Merritt Island, Florida, the center is north-northwest of Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Ocean, midway between Miami and Jacksonville on Florida’s Space Coast. It is 34 miles (55 km) long and roughly 6 miles (10 km) wide, covering 219 square miles (570 km2). A total of 13,100 people worked at the center as of 2011. Approximately 2,100 are employees of the federal government; the rest are contractors.