Flat Erin visits Kennedy Space Center

Erin's third grade class has read the book Flat Stanley. It is a book about a boy who is flattened when a bulletin board fell on him. He discovers that since he is flat, his family can mail him to places he wouldn't be able to visit otherwise.

Erin's class has made flat versions of themselves, and have mailed them around to learn about geography. The people who get the flat children in the mail can take them around their area, and send back postcards and souvenirs from their trip. The class will then share in the adventures and look up each location on the map.

If you are viewing this from a printed copy, the original is on the internet at:
The web version of this page has hyperlinks to more information for several of the places we visited. Also, higher resolution pictures are available by clicking on any of the pictures on this page.

We got Flat Erin in the mail, and decided to take her to visit Kennedy Space Center. Erin is from Wisconsin, and may never get a chance to come to Florida and see the exhibits and tours of America's manned space program.

On our way to Cape Canaveral from Winter Springs, we pass though a town called Christmas. This is a very small town, but the name alone gives us a reason to stop and show Erin around.

We stopped at the Christmas Post Office to take a picture with Erin.

The Christmas Museum has Christmas decorations up all year long.

Erin wanted to go meet Santa, so we went down for a picture.

We stop by to see Swampy, the largest Gator ever built, at Jungle Adventures in Christmas.

We would have gone in, but this was close enough for Erin - those teeth are pretty scary!

As we leave Christmas, we come to Titusville, just across the Intra-Costal Waterway from Cape Canaveral. Here we see a full-sized Space Shuttle sitting on the side of the road.

This is the Astronaut Hall of Fame... We will stop back by here on the way out.

After we cross the Intra-Costal Waterway, we are right here at the Kennedy Space Center. Erin is so excited to be here, she jumps into the air and kicks her leg up.

We are greeted by a robot in the Visitor Center, who poses with Erin.

From the Visitor Center, we board a bus to begin our tour of the facility.

Erin gets the window seat, so she can watch the scenery on the tour.

We pass by the VAB - the Vehicle Assembly Building. This building was originally built to assemble the Saturn V rockets that went to the moon. Now, this building is where the Space Shuttle, Solid Rocket Boosters, and External Fuel Tank are assembled. The doors on the side of the building are 456 feet high.

The US flag on the side of the VAB is the largest hand painted flag in the world. Each stripe on the flag is 8-1/2 feet wide - about as wide as our tour bus. The blue field where the stars are located, is about the size of a basketball court. The discolored parts of the building are repairs from Hurricane damage.

The bus passes by the Crawler. This is one of two Crawlers that NASA uses to take the Space Shuttle from the VAB to the launch pad. The Crawler weighs 6 million pounds, and moves at a maximum speed of 1 MPH when loaded. As for gas mileage, the Crawler gets about 35 feet per gallon. It takes 150 gallons of diesel fuel to go 1 mile.

The Crawlers are 40 years old now, and have accumulated about 2,526 miles moving rockets to the launch pad.

Then we passed the Mobile Launch Platform. The Space Shuttle is bolted to this platform in the VAB, then the Crawler moves the platform and Shuttle out to the launch pad, where it is set on six large posts that support the platform and shuttle until launch.

The bus dropped us off at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

Here Erin is posing next to a model of the Saturn V rocket.

This building houses an actual Saturn V Moon rocket. If the Apollo program had continued, this rocket was going to be Apollo 19.

This is the Command Module of the rocket. The front section is the Capsule, where three Astronauts lived and worked for the duration of the Moon mission.

This is a front view of the capsule.

This is the Lunar Excursion Module. It is the vehicle that landed on the Moon.

This is the Lunar Rover - it is an electric car that the Astronauts drove on the Moon.

This is a space suit used by the Apollo Astronauts.

This is the van that took the Astronauts to the launch pad.

It is a converted motor home.

Next, we went to the International Space Station Center.

This is a model of Skylab - an early space station we had back in the 1970's.

These are a couple of views of the Russian space station, Mir.

This is a model of the International Space Station.

Here is Erin, standing next to a space suit like they use at the International Space Station.

After the International Space Station Center, we took the bus back to the visitor center.

This is where they have the Rocket Garden, with many different types of rockets that they have launched from Cape Canaveral.

This is a smaller version of the Saturn V Moon rocket that was used for testing in Earth orbit. It did not have enough power to reach the Moon.

This is a Gemini capsule on display in the Rocket Garden.

Here is the External Fuel Tank and Solid Rocket Booster used on the Shuttle.

This is a full sized model of the Space Shuttle.

The Shuttle model is set up so that you can go inside.

This is the flight deck on the Shuttle. The Astronaut standing there will not let you touch any of the controls.

Erin and I got into space suits for this picture.

Then Erin got to play on a small Space Shuttle.

There are many more exhibits at the visitor center, including a couple IMAX movies, but we didn't see them on this trip, because we wanted to be sure we had enough time to visit the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is right on the way out of the Kennedy Space Center, so we went straight there.

Here's Erin getting ready to go into the Hall of Fame.

This is a capsule from the Mercury program.

Erin was surprised at how small the capsule was; surely the Astronaut must not have had claustrophobia!

This is one of the space suits from the Mercury program.

This is one of the capsules from the Gemini program.

These capsules were a little bit bigger, but it still must have been tight in there.

This is one of the space suits from the Gemini program.

This is a collection of the different helmets that the Astronauts wore.

This is a space suit with a manuevering unit for space walks.

After we had seen all of the exhibits, we said goodbye to the giant Astronaut and headed home.

Erin was so tired from her adventure, that she fell asleep in the living room chair. She had better get rested, because tomorrow she starts a new adventure with a different family.

So long Erin, we had a great time!