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Answers to a similar-sounding question What is the difference between Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center? deal mostly with history and geography.

In the question Which has been the most gregarious rocket, launched from the most sites? I said

For the purposes of this question, allow for some flexibility; adding an extra side booster doesn't necessarily make it a different rocket. Two launch adjacent launch pads don't count as different sites, but Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and KSC would be different.

because I perceive these two areas as different administratively and programmatically. In this comment I clarified that:

I'm using something like $d_{tot}=d_t+d_{ap}$ where $d$ stands for distance measured in "difficulty" units. There is both transportation difficulty or $d_t$ which measures how hard and far it would be to change your mind and move a rocket from one site to the other, and ($d_{ap}$) administrative and programatic difficulty which is sort-of self explanatory and redundant. Looking at ...difference between Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center? it sounds like it wouldn't be so easy to change your mind at the last minute and move between sites.

Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the launch facilities at the Kennedy Space Center are close physically. Google Maps says it's a 2 minute drive, but that's probably without a rocket in tow, and for some strange reason Google Street View won't let me "drive" to the Air Force's launch pads at the cape.

Question: But in terms of administrative difficulty, approval procedures, security, dedicated personnel, additional support buildings and other things, how far away is a launching at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from launching at KSC in months (or years), dollars and additional head-count?

Is there a significant difference, or is my perception incorrect?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Security-wise, you got badged for both at the same office (your badge had a list of the specific areas you could access printed on it). As far as the rest - it's a different world now, no idea. $\endgroup$ Nov 8 '18 at 12:38
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    $\begingroup$ The historical answers provide the key. Many, many installations have grown from a small initial military site, into something different over time either as they expanded are were stood down from a cold-war footing. Muroc to Edwards AFB, Ellington AFB to Airfield. Cape Canaveral/KSC is no different. Politicians and Agencies have a tendency to want to rename things to either take credit or provide a name with historical significance. I'm not sure you can do much better than Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 $\endgroup$ Feb 25 '20 at 4:57
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    $\begingroup$ @SF. If anything I’d expect the opposite. Military/civilian cooperation was much more informal then than it is today. I don’t imagine NASA could get the pacific fleet to cancel their holiday leave with 4 months notice on the strength of one presentation to an Admiral, as they did for Apollo 8, these days. $\endgroup$ Feb 25 '20 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ An edit now make the title say Air Force Station, even though Canaveral is now a Space Force Station. Is there a need to fix that? $\endgroup$
    – DrSheldon
    Aug 7 at 23:46
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    $\begingroup$ @DrSheldon I'm baad with both names and the concepts that underly naming things that aren't equations or concepts. Please feel free to edit as necessary, your help will be greatly appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 7 at 23:48
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Extremely partial answer addressing only the security aspect of the following quote from the question, and only for the late shuttle program era

But in terms of administrative difficulty, approval procedures, security, dedicated personnel, additional support buildings and other things, how far away is a launching at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station from launching at KSC in months (or years), dollars and additional head-count?

(emphasis mine)

tl;dr During the late shuttle program, KSC and CCAFS were located within a common security perimeter and had shared badging and access control facilities.


During the time period mentioned above, Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station were behind the same set of security fences and gates and shared a "Pass and Identification system" (PIDS).

This image, handed out by a contractor security office to Johnson Space Center contractors visiting KSC on business, shows the PIDS offices (red arrows) and the gates (green arrows).

a low resolution map of Merritt Island and Cape Canaveral, Florida, is shown. Major NASA and Air Force facilities are shown on the map as are roads connecting them. The PIDS and security gates are annotated by the author. The point of the image is to show that both KSC and CCAFS are within the same security perimeter.

One showed up at one of the PIDS and if the paperwork was in order, one was issued a temporary badge aka "machine pass", an example of which is shown here.

A KSC temporary badge is shown with the wearer's picture and name obscured. The badge shows that it allows access to both sites at the bottom, and specific areas the wearer was authorized to enter are listed in the middle of the badge.

Note that the bottom of the badge it lists both NASA and CCAFS. Above that the specific areas the wearer was authorized to visit are listed. Notice that this particular badge allowed access to Launch Complex 39 (LC-39) and the Industrial Area inside KSC, and also to the CCAFS Industrial Area.

Additional portrait-format badges (one each for KSC and CCAFS) listed the specific "access areas" within the facilities. For example, being able to enter LC-39 did not automatically mean that an individual could climb the launch tower, enter the Orbiter Processing Facility, or walk through the Vertical Assembly Building. Each "access area" was handled separately. The badge also stated if escorts were required.

Source: personal notes

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