Are Rockets Fast or Slow?

Of course rockets are fast, right? The speediest one carrying a person zoomed at over 4,000 miles an hour! But rockets ride very slowly on the ground. Spacecraft are rolled from NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building to the launchpad at just 2-3 miles an hour — slower than you can walk! We’re guessing rockets have more fun flying in the sky.

Wee ones: If a rocket rolls 2 miles an hour and you walk 1 mile an hour faster, how fast are you?

Little kids: If you flew at 4,000 miles per hour for a 2-hour playdate, how far would you fly?  Bonus: The Endeavour stopped flying in 2012. How old were you then? (We’re in 2023 now.)

Big kids: If the 78-foot-wide Endeavour rolled down a street 50 feet wide, by how many feet did the space shuttle stick out on each side (assuming it rolled right down the middle)?  Bonus: If you flew the 25,000 miles around Earth at 4,000 miles per hour starting at 7:00 pm, would you land back home the same day you started?

Wee ones: 3 miles an hour.

Little kids: 8,000 miles.  Bonus: Different for everyone…that was 11 years ago, so subtract 11 from your age. If you’re younger than 11, you weren’t born yet!

Big kids: 14 feet on each side, since it’s 28 feet too wide and the two sides split that.  Bonus: No, because In 6 hours you’ll travel 24,000 miles, which already takes you to 1:00 in the morning the next day. The last 1,000 miles take you just another 15 minutes (1/4 of an hour at 4,000 miles per hour).

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