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All the orbital launch-sites I know of are to some degree also military bases, like Cape Canaveral and Plesetsk, and they have in any case restricted access. However, which of them can I visit, without breaking any law? I am most interested in a manned launch, if that helps to narrow down the question. (although I am then left with only Russia and China.)

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And then, there is visit the site itself legally. Vs Hanging around nearby, looking like a spy with cameras, etc, and not getting shot. – geoffc Jan 4 at 21:09
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Aren't there any (semi-)official tours to Baikonur? – Deer Hunter Jan 4 at 22:36
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In autumn 2015 the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) announced that it will create infrastructure over the following years, which will make it easier for tourists to visit Baikonur and Vostochny cosmodromes. Source in Russian: izvestia.ru/news/591045 According to that source, you can visit Baikonur now, but these tours cost too much (325000 roubles, over 4100 Euros, excl. tickets to Moscow) and are done on one-by-one basis (i. e. those agencies arrange the tours for each individual tourist and there are no economies of scale). – Dmitri Pisarenko Jan 5 at 4:32
up vote 14 down vote accepted

The United States launch sites are the most accessible, both in terms of location (near population centers and accessible) and political environment. Kennedy Space Center in particular is welcoming of visitors, and to a lesser extent Wallops, and you can get into Vandenburg occasionally if you ask nicely.

As far as other countries, the major centers are Baikonour, which doesn't allow tourists (Yet), Guiana Space Center, which does have some launch site visitation (But is in a fairly remote part of the world anyways), and the various Chinese sites, all of which seem to allow some form of public visitation.

Bottom line, the US and China seem to be the most open about visiting their launch sites.

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"In terms of location"...Not true for all of us :) – Hohmannfan Jan 4 at 23:32
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By that comment I'm mostly referring to Guiana Space Center, which is pretty much in the Amazon Rain Forest, and a lesser extend Baikonour, which isn't exactly near civilization either. – PearsonArtPhoto Jan 4 at 23:34
    
KSC liftoffs can be see decently from across the sound in Titusville, also. The only barrier to visiting there is avoiding a parking ticket. – Todd Wilcox Jan 5 at 14:12
    
It seems you mean "you can get into Vandenburg occasionally if you ask nicely and you drive a car," since they explicitly require the number of your driver's license as ID. – David Richerby Jan 5 at 18:02
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@ToddWilcox How much is a parking ticket in Titusville? – Wirewrap Jan 5 at 18:22

I'm not sure if it'd be exciting enough for you, but I visited Tanegashima with a friend in January 2013. It's a bit of a way off the west end of Japan, but not quite as far as Okinawa. They mostly do satellite launches and tracking. (this qualifies it as an orbital launch site for you, yes?)

Once you've made the ferry, hydrofoil or plane trip to get there from Kagoshima, it's easy to get around. Tanegashima Space Centre is super welcoming and they run guided tours of the facilities as well as leaving you free to walk around the sizeable public areas. TSC is a beautiful place, and they're justifiably proud of it.

JAXA's website has info in English on visiting and booking tours. Wikitravel has good details on travelling there. Note that the guided tour around the facilities is all in Japanese, but don't let that stop you. For what it's worth, you'll have the opportunity to get eyes on the launchpad from about... 1km away? Maybe a bit further; I don't recall the bus route so I can't confirm that on google maps.

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It is certainly possible to visit Kennedy Space Center and see a launch. This link gives viewing sites for KSC, Vandenberg, and Wallops as well as a link to information on purchasing tickets for on-site viewing.

Unfortunately, since you wish to see a human spaceflight launch, KSC is not going to fit the bill for quite a while.

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Hopefully next year... – PearsonArtPhoto Jan 4 at 23:21

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