Center Director Welcome

From the Desk of William W. Parsons
Welcome to NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, our nation's gateway to exploring, discovering and understanding our universe.

Kennedy Space Center Director William ParsonsImage at left: Official portrait of William W. Parsons, director of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Credit: NASA/KSC
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By nature, human beings are explorers. For thousands of years, we've pushed beyond our boundaries, broadening our minds and imaginations with each new discovery.

That same spirit of exploration has long been the driving force for NASA and the Kennedy Space Center.

On May 5, 1961, a Mercury-Redstone rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral with astronaut Alan Shepard, making him the first American in space and launching the dreams of a generation.

Hundreds of people have followed since that pioneering mission, from the lunar explorers of the Apollo program to the crews living and working each day on the International Space Station. Every NASA human space mission began its tremendous journey with a liftoff from the launch pads along this Florida shoreline.

The center is also home to NASA's Launch Services Program, which launches advanced probes and satellites on missions to unlock the secrets of our planet, as well as our planetary neighbors and the universe beyond. Just a few examples are the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Cassini mission to Saturn, the Deep Impact journey to Comet Tempel 1, and the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) sun-observing spacecraft.

This heritage of achievement spans nearly 50 years, and we build on this tradition with every successful mission and each new discovery.

Today, NASA is on the edge of a bold new challenge: the Constellation Program. This ambitious new endeavor calls for us to return human explorers to the moon and then venture even farther. As the nation's premier spaceport, Kennedy Space Center will play a critical role in this new chapter in exploration. We're preparing for an amazing future as the assembly, test and launch site for the next generation of crew and cargo vehicles.

At the same time, we must fly the remaining space shuttle missions safely in order to complete the space station, paving the way for the long-duration missions of tomorrow.

We invite you to explore the Kennedy Space Center Web site, where you'll find the very latest news and information as we take on these challenges. Let us share our successes with you as we make our vision for the future become a reality.

William W. Parsons