Most of us just dream of going to space. However, 9-year old Seattleresident, Eliot gets to actually do it everyday. The best part is, this young astronaut doesn't need to go through any special training nor, haul himself to NASA's headquarters in Cape Canaveral. He simply dons his spacesuit and . . . . . . Walks to his backyard!
The tale behind this cool rocket ship, dubbed Ravenna Ultra Low Altitude Vehicle, began in 2007, when Eliot's mum Christina, decided to reclaim her rather rundown backyard by building a treehouse. She gave his dad the mandate to build one and provided him with simple (read boring) plans for one.
However, Eliot's dad, Jon, had something a little more exciting in mind. Eliot and he began with a visit to the Boeing surplus store, where they found four big sheets of weather beaten sheet aluminum and three 24-foot thick-walled aluminum tubes.
While at first, the plan was just to build a static rocket ship, Jon soon began to dream of making it as 'realistic' as possible, by adding things like flashing lights, a paint shaker that simulates the rumble of a takeoff and even, pilot controlled thrusters! Accordingly, he enlisted the help of computer whiz Jeremy Elson, to help out with the electronics and the result, as you will see, is simply amazing!
An astronaut cannot of course go into orbit without the right gear - Eliot's grandmother therefore, decided to design a suit for the young boy - And, just like everything else with this project, it was not just a simple white jumper, but one, that emulates an authentic suit, complete with NASA, flags and mission patches!
Envious? You can build one too - For this generous family has put their entire construction plan and a detailed explanation on how they build theirs, on their website - All you need, is a motivated dad! And, if that's not going to work, they are happy to take you on a space ride if you ever happen to be in Ravenna, Seattle. To read more about this fun project or request a blast-off, check out their website: content.rocket.jonh.net.