August 10, 2016 9:00 AM EDT

It all started with a regular, everyday bus ride. Photographer Aaron Sheldon’s son, Harrison, refused to get off the bus, wanting to stay and watch the traffic and pedestrians. Although frustrated, Aaron realized that to his son, this wasn’t just one bus ride in a lifetime of similar bus rides, it was a new and exciting adventure.

When Harrison got an ear infection and had to go to the doctor’s’ office, his father, hoping to give him the courage to sit on the examination table, asked “What kind of brave people have to go the doctor’s office?’ to which Harrison replied “Well how about astronauts? Are astronauts brave?”

Connecting the idea of the brave astronaut and the adventurous child, Aaron started a project that would be called Small Steps Are Giant Leaps. He photographed Harrison wearing a costume space suit, doing everyday things like laundry, getting a haircut, and, yes, riding the bus. The project, Aaron writes on his Kickstarter page, “is about reminding parents that, to our kids, this is a new and exciting world just waiting to be explored.” After a successful campaign, Small Steps Are Giant Leaps became a book.

But that wasn’t the end for the intrepid explorer. After someone at the Kennedy Space Center saw an image of Harrison, dressed in his space suit, holding a sign reading “Florida Space Coast or BUST”, the father-son team was invited to the complex for a special visit. The tiny astronaut saw the Atlantis space shuttle, touched a moon rock, met veteran NASA astronaut Jon McBride, and got an up-close view of a Saturn V moon rocket.

“Our job as parents”, Aaron wrote on his website, “is to act as [our child’s] mission control and co-pilot to make sure they can explore as much of their new world as possible.”

See more images from the project on Instagram at @smallstepsaregiantleaps.

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