With its panoramic view across the Indian River Lagoon, Space View Park was the gathering place for millions of visitors to watch dramatic Space Shuttle launches, complete with live NASA narration.
While it still buzzes during rocket launches, it’s now a more contemplative place, the only public park in America where you can walk through the entire history of the manned missions that launched from Kennedy Space Center.
Address: 10 Broad St, Titusville
Restrooms: Adjoining the Mercury Memorial
Land manager: City of Titusville
Open sunrise to sunset, but visitors are welcome – and pack in hours in advance – after dark during rocket launches. The waterfront at both the Gemini and Mercury memorials are popular spots to watch launches across the Indian River Lagoon, with a direct line of sight towards Pad 39A.
You can also bring a lawn chair and sit in the open plaza around the stormwater pond adjoining the Apollo and Space Shuttle memorials to see launches overhead.
From Interstate 95, take the Garden Street (SR 406) exit towards Canaveral National Seashore. When you get to US 1 southbound, turn right and get in the left lane. Turn left on Broad Street.
Cross US 1 northbound. Continue to the end of the street, crossing Indian River Avenue and the bike path along the way.
A logical outdoor extension of the nearby American Space Museum to honor the hundreds of thousands of space workers who devoted years – or careers – to launching humans into space, Space View Park is centered around four informative memorial plazas for each of the major manned space programs.
Each of these plazas contain similar design elements. They are topped with a symbol of the program. Plaques – in some cases accompanied by engraved illustrations – provide background details on the program. QR codes are available for more details.
Bricks or engraved panels include the names of personnel who worked on the program. And each plaza features handprints and signatures in bronze from astronauts on each of the programs, some of whom – like Neil Armstrong – are no longer with us.
While the personnel rosters are certainly not complete – they were developed as a fundraiser initially to launch this project – they include a lot of names we know personally, including John’s father. He is honored for his work on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs.
Although the park sign is out on US 1 near the intersection with Garden Street, the park itself wraps around a stormwater basin that enables water draining out of downtown to settle before flowing out into the lagoon through a cut between the Mercury and Gemini memorials.
Space View Park adjoins Veterans Memorial Park on the Indian River waterfront, which is one of the best places to see manatees clustering near the shore in the colder months.
The Florida Coast-to-Coast Trail bisects the park with its own green-painted route across from parking spaces on Indian River Avenue. For a full walk-through of the memorials in order, we suggest you park near the Mercury memorial in the large parking area at the end of Broad Street.
Project Mercury Memorial
Nestled under the canopy of sand live oaks, the Project Mercury memorial is topped with its distinctive and unusual mission symbol, centered around the number 7. Seven astronauts were chosen for this program.
Started in 1958, Project Mercury was the first to put Americans in space, starting with astronaut Alan Shepard making a suborbital flight in May 1961. John Glenn followed, becoming the first American to orbit the earth in February 1962. The final Mercury flight was in 1963.
Walking around the monument, you’ll notice John Glenn’s handprints and others. All of the Mercury Seven were chosen from active duty military test pilots. What surprises some visitors is how small their handprints are.
The waterfront of this portion of Space View Park provides great views. To the southeast, across a broad stretch of open water on Indian River Lagoon, is the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) at Kennedy Space Center. It is one of the world’s largest buildings.
Towards the northeast, behind the memorial, you get a nice view up the Indian River Lagoon towards the Max Brewer Bridge, and can see the Project Gemini memorial across the water. Follow the waterfront to walk to it next.
On the walkway between the Project Mercury and Project Gemini plazas, look down at the paving stones and you’ll see mission logos interspersed with “Did you know” facts about humanity’s long fascination with space on granite markers in the bricks.
Project Gemini Memorial
Down this narrow protected spit of land between a tall condo complex and the outflow from the stormwater basin, the Project Gemini memorial gleams in the sunshine. Project Gemini began in 1961.
While Project Mercury put one astronaut in a capsule, Gemini teamed together two on each mission, with sixteen selected to fly. The idea was to actually have each team fly a spacecraft and maneuver it.
This included rendezvous and docking in space and learning how to land in a specific location. They learned how to handle emergencies, too. On Gemini VIII, Neil Armstrong and David Scott had to figure out what was wrong with their capsule and correct it when it went into a crazy spin that nearly caused them to black out.
With twelve flights through 1966, Project Mercury laid the basis for going to the moon with the Apollo program. Astronauts accomplished the very first space walks and lived in their space capsule for up to two weeks at a time.
Cross Indian River Avenue to visit the last two memorials in Space View Park. Both of these provide more extensive information about their programs that the initial two, and etched panels showcasing scenes from the program.
Started in 1961 at the urging of President John F. Kennedy for America to go to the moon, the Apollo program had a very focused purpose.
Early missions enabled astronauts to try out new technology, particularly the multi-stage approach needed to land on the moon and return home. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 accomplished that feat.
Here you’ll find Apollo 11 moon walkers Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s handprints, and a statue of President Kennedy giving his timeless speech about making reaching the moon a national goal.
Space Shuttle Memorial
The last and longest program to put Americans in space was the Space Shuttle, with its first launch in 1981 and final one 30 years later, in 2011.
The central feature to this plaza provides information on each of the orbiters – Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Endeavor, and Atlantis – with etched photographs illustrating the many jobs that had to be done by support crews between each mission.
Our slideshow of Space View Park
Need More Space?
Ready for Launch
Living on Florida’s Space Coast, you’re either wowed by rocket launches or take them as a matter of course. Here’s where to see a launch and why it matters to us.
On a Mission with Space Shuttle Atlantis
Thirty years. Six spacecraft. 135 missions. Learn the rich history of the Space Shuttle program inside Space Shuttle Atlantis, a compelling exhibit space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, with its primary focus the orbiter Atlantis.
In Riding Rockets, Astronaut Mike Mullane peels back the glamour of being an astronaut by describing the day-to-day realities of working a job like no other during his years on the Space Shuttle program.