Cape Canaveral is a strip of land near the center of the Atlantic coast of Florida. It is in a region known as the Space Coast, and is the site of the Kennedy Space Center, and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Most United States spacecraft are launched from either one of these sites.
President John F. Kennedy was an enthusiastic backer of the space program, and after his assassination in 1963, Cape Canaveral was renamed Cape Kennedy. Although the name change was approved by the U.S. Board of Geographical Names of the Interior Department in 1964, it was not popular in Florida and in 1973 the state passed a law restoring the former 400-year-old name and the Board went along. The people of the city of Cape Canaveral, Florida had particularly pressed to change it back.
The cape is part of a long string of barrier beaches along the Atlantic coast of the United States.
In addition to the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral is the site of an air force base, a nineteenth-century lighthouse, and the city of Cape Canaveral.
The first rocket launch from the Cape was Bumper 8 from Launch Pad 3 on 24 July 1950.
On February 6, 1959 the first successful test firing of a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile was accomplished here.
All manned US spaceflights have launched from Cape Canaveral.
The name "Canaveral" was given to the area by Spanish explorers, and it literally means "canebreak." It can be interpreted as "Cape of Canes."