Monday, June 7, 2010
It's 9:20 P.M. by the clock above the Odyssey's emergency exit. We are a couple hours into our first EdVenture Camp for the 2010 Summer season. I'm yawning. I'm tired. I've been plugging away since 9:00 A.M. and have several more miles to go before I sleep. I'll be here a total of 50 hours before I go home, and that's just the start of the week! I still have full days of private missions on Thursday, Friday and Saturday along with another Overnight Camp Thursday night. Oh yes, its summer and that means I'm hear around 80 hours per week.
I'm paid for 40 hours and gladly donate the other 40 hours to the Center. It isn't proper to direct a non profit organization so dependant on volunteer help without setting the example and volunteering myself. So, Space Center Volunteers, Mr. Williamson is right there in the bunkers with you fighting the good fight and doing what he can to make the Center a success. Volunteerism is the life blood of the Center and I'm convinced the best way to lead is by example.
But, I'm asking for your 'understanding' if you come in and I'm not myself. You might find me slumped back in my chair asleep in a very Peppermint Patty way, or you might find me catching a few winks in the library. I've got a pad right by the Odyssey Control Room door so I can lay there and still track the missions and the campers. You might find me wondering aimlessly through the school looking purposeful (but in reality - quite befuddled). Wish me a good day. If I don't respond then take me by the arm and lead me back to the library and tell me to lay down. I should be right as rain in a few minutes.
Today I spent most of the day pondering over the working schedule, climbing up and down the ladder in the Custodial Closet to get to the school's roof to check on air conditioning. I discovered the Gym's AC was working (the compressor was doing its job) but wasn't putting out the air. The custodian and I found the reason. The belt driving the fan was too lose to turn the fan to deliver the cooled air.
The camp started at 7:00 P.M. We've got 34 campers. They are in their first short rotation (a 3 hour mission). I'm listening to the Phoenix crew debate with the ship's engineer about the impulse engine. The Phoenix is always the loudest ship. The poor captain has come out three times. He claims it is too intense. We stop tonight at 10:30 P.M. for ice cream and then bed. I've got just under an hour to go. I'm not sure I can make it. I think I'll take a walk through the school and then stretch out for a minute or two in the Library and listen to the Odyssey mission.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
SpaceX is a private company under NASA contract to build the rockets needed to carry supplies and astronauts into space. Remember the Space Shuttles are due to be retired after a couple more launches.
This weekend SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into space. This paves the way for the commercialization of space. This is a good thing for the American tax payers and I believe will open the door for a vibrant and active Space Program for the future. A career in the space industry might just be a possibility for the youth of today.
The following is an article on the launch and a short video.
It was history in the making that could have a huge bearing on the future of US spaceflight. The commercial space company SpaceX successfully launched their Falcon 9 rocket on Friday, with what seemed to be a picture-perfect lift-off and flight. The Falcon 9 rocket performed magnificently (at least from initial reports), hitting all the flight parameters precisely on time. The SpaceX team overcame delays for telemetry problems, a boat that unknowingly sailed into the restricted zone of the launch range, and one last-second launch abort on an earlier try. The team then successfully recycled the engines and sent the rocket off on a beautiful launch. Video from the rocket in flight was streamed online, showing the stage separation and engine cutoff, with a view of Earth in the background. UPDATE: Spaceflightnow.com reports that SpaceX founder Elon Musk said the Falcon 9 rocket's second stage and dummy Dragon capsule achieved a nearly perfect orbit during today's dramatic blastoff, hitting a bullseye of the orbital target. The apogee, or high point, was about 1 percent higher than planned and the perigee, or low point, was 0.2 percent off the target. The Falcon 9 blasted off at 2:45 p.m. EDT (1845 GMT) from launch pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air
The nine Merlin engines, fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene rocket fuel, provided a million pounds of thrust, sending the rocket to orbit in just over 9 minutes.
SpaceX was shooting for the Falcon 9 to reach a circular orbit 250 kilometers, or 155 miles, high and an inclination of 34.5 degrees.
On the video, it is evident the rocket experienced a slight roll, which was not expected.Having a rocket succeed on its maiden voyage is quite unusual (it took the Atlas rocket 13 tries for success), so the SpaceX team has to be extremely pleased with not only the rocket's performance, but the team's ability to overcome problems and press on with a successful launch. 180-foot (55 meter)-high Falcon 9 carried a mock-up of SpaceX's Dragon capsule. With this success, the next flight may be a flight to the International Space Station to practice docking techniques — it won't actually dock, but practice approach. If that goes well, the next flight might actually dock and bring supplies to the ISS.
Congratulations to SpaceX!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
MOSCOW (AP) - An international team of researchers in Russia on Thursday began a grueling simulation of a flight to Mars that will keep them locked in a cascade of windowless modules for 520 days _ the amount of time required for a journey to the Red Planet and back to Earth.
While the experiment, conducted jointly by Russia, China and the European Space Agency, will not involve weightlessness, it will try to tackle some of the psychological challenges of a real flight to Mars _ particularly the stress, claustrophobia and fatigue that a real space crew would face during interplanetary travel.
The six-member, all-male crew _ consisting of three Russians, a Frenchman, an Italian-Colombian and a Chinese _ expressed confidence that the mission would be a success.
Diego Urbina, the Italian-Colombian member, said the mission would mean "accomplishing dreams about the future, doing something that no human has done before."
Psychologists said the simulation can be even more demanding that a real flight because the crew won't experience any of the euphoria or dangers of actual space travel. They have also warned that months of space travel would push the team to the limits of endurance as they grow increasingly tired of each other.
Well aware of this hazard, crew members equipped themselves accordingly. For instance, French participant Romain Charles said he was bringing along a guitar so he could entertain the other team members.
The main task of the Mars-500 experiment, conducted by the Moscow-based Institute for Medical and Biological Problems, will study the effects of long isolation to better understand how a real space crew should cope with stress and fatigue.
The facility for the experiment is located in Russia's premier space medicine center. It is comprised of several interconnected modules with a total volume of 550 cubic meters (about 20,000 cubic feet) and a separate built-in imitator of the Red Planet's surface for a mock landing.
The researchers will communicate with the outside world via Internet _ delayed and occasionally disrupted to imitate the effects of space travel. They will eat canned food similar to that currently offered on the International Space Station and take a shower once every 10 days _ mimicking space conditions. The crew will have two days off in a week, except when emergencies are simulated.
The ESA said the crew will also regularly play video games as part of the agency's project to develop personalized software to interact with crews on future space missions.
Other crew members include Sukhrob Kamolov, 32, Alexander Smoleyevsky, 33 and Alexey Sitev, 38 _ all Russians _ and Wang Yue, 26, from China.
For mission captain Sitev, the experiment means separation from his wife just a few weeks after the two wed. When asked about marital repercussions, he tried to put on a brave face.
"I'll tell you that it's difficult for me to part with my family, just as it is for any other person," he told journalists just before the experiment began.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
May 23, 2010
Just about any amateur astronomer can tell you the basics about Jupiter. It's the fifth planet from the sun. It's got a Great Red Spot on its lower half. And it's encircled by two prominent brown stripes. Well, check your telescope tonight and you'll find that one of those stripes has gone missing — and scientists aren't entirely sure why.
Amateur astronomers raised the alert about the fading stripe last fall. The giant planet ducked behind the sun for a few months over the winter, and when it came back to the morning sky, the dark band in the Southern Hemisphere was gone.
"This is not the first time this has happened," says Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor for Sky and Telescope magazine. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that particular stripe goes missing every 10 years or so. In fact, it's disappeared about 18 times since the turn of the 19th century.
He suspects that the stripe may not actually be missing at all. Unlike the Earth, he explains, Jupiter doesn't have a solid surface. "What we see when we look through a telescope is a planet-wide cloud deck surrounding the entire place. So these two bands, which are kind of like racing stripes around the midsection of Jupiter, are dark bands that have a different composition than the other clouds around them.
"What scientists think has happened is that some kind of disturbance has taken over in the Southern Hemisphere and created cirrus clouds, maybe, that [have] completely enveloped the planet and covered this band with a high, thin blanket that will eventually go away," he says.
So Jupiter's southern stripe might just be hiding. How long until it reappears, nobody knows. "It could be six months from now," Beatty says. "It could be two years from now."
One thing's for certain, he says: "There are amateur astronomers around the world with their eyes glued to their telescopes in the hope that they will be the first to be able to see the beginning of the return of the south equatorial belt."
Jupiter's disappearing belt wouldn't have been noticed so quickly without those hobbyists, Beatty says. In fact, in astronomy, the pros depend on the amateurs to sound celestial alerts.
"There aren't enough professionals to keep track of everything going on in the universe all the time," Beatty says. "So in a sense, they rely on amateur astronomers — who have very good equipment, by the way — to actually keep an eye on things."
"When they see something, they notify the professionals, and the big guns get swung over to take a look."
If you'd like to join the watch, Jupiter's easy to spot just before dawn. "If you're just eyeballing the sky," Beatty suggests, "it's a bright star in the eastern sky. It's the only star that bright anywhere nearby; it's very obvious."
"If you have a pair of binoculars," he adds, "you'll see that Jupiter's actually a little disk. If you have a small telescope, you'll be able to see not only this disk, but the two stripes across it — or what were the two stripes. You'll only see one."
Beatty admits he kind of misses the second stripe. "I kind of miss the symmetry of it, because it tells me that there is order on Jupiter."
"Right now, the fact that that one belt is missing, it's like a missing tooth. There is disorder on Jupiter — and we just don't know why."
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Your business is in the running to be a nominee in this year's Parents' Picks Awards on Nickelodeon's ParentsConnect.com. To secure the nomination, be sure to have your clients/fans nominate you (http://www.parentsconnect.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monte Vista Elementary's last two sixth grade classes finished our 2009 - 2010 school year field trip program today. The bus arrived at 2:00 P.M. and departed at 6:00 P.M. The students did the mission "Supernova". Lorraine taught the classroom and Aleta and Lorraine did the Digitarium presentation. Yes, you read that right, I wrote Digitarium. The Space Center's brand new $27,000 portable planetarium is here and is it something wonderful! Aleta and Alex A. spent the last several days learning how to operate the computer and projector. It is more complicated than our old Starlabs but what a picture! It's color, and because the projector displays a computer image we can show everything up on the dome a computer screen will display. This will open the door to new and exciting planetarium presentations.
I took a few snapshots of for the scrap book as our way of officially saying goodbye to a good year. We have a small overnight camp tomorrow night (Thursday). We will be hosting students from Idaho. We have another overnight camp on Friday with students from Ridgeline Elementary School. We have a few down days for summer prep, then reopen on June 4th and 5th with a full slate of private programs. Our first EdVenture Camp starts Monday, June 7th.
This is how you get in and out of the Digitarium. The kids are blurry because Mrs. Houston unzipped the dome (there is no tunnel like the Starlabs). We have to let 5 out at a time so the dome doesn't loose all its air. When she says "Move" they move!
The last student is out and Lorraine is zipping up the dome for reinflation. Mrs. Clegg is still inside working on a few bugs. The Digitarium is complicated and will take some time to learn all its functions.
The students are lined up ready to go outside for a snack before their science lesson in Discovery.
The students get a 15 minute break on the school's east lawn. This picnic area represents the work of two boys for their Eagle Scout Projects.
After their snack, the students go to Discovery for their science lesson. Mrs. Houston was their teacher today.
Mrs. Houston, at her station waiting to provide chills and thrills with a lesson on the light spectrum.
While one class is in the Digitarium and lesson, the other class is in the simulators.
The Voyager crew is receiving last minute instructions from Emily, their flight director.
Zac is the waiting to go to the Voyager Bridge. He is the Bridge Officer for this mission. He makes his grand entrance when Emily leaves for the Control Room.
It is 6:00 P.M. and time for our last field trip to depart. This is the end for the school year 2009-2010. A great year!
And now I rest after 18,253 students. A new 19 year attendance record. Please do not disturb.........Shhhhhhh
Saturday, May 22, 2010
The Overnight Camp went well. I didn't sleep well. Some weekends are better than others. The campers were from Orem Elementary. Again I can happily report they were awesome. We get some really great kids attending our camps. It makes doing this every weekend worth it.
There's news to report. Shall we start with the really cool and work down to the completely trivial?
This is Warren. Warren has been at the Space Center for years. His older brother Gary worked here before him. Warren is a Supervisor in the Magellan. Warren had good news to share. He received an LDS mission call to Frankfurt Germany. He enters the MTC on September 15th. Of course he's excited (his German isn't too bad either).
This is Emily shaking hands with Wyatt. Isn't Wyatt special? We've been working on his social skills for a few years now. This weekend we can report success! After several false starts, Emily (one of our bright and upcoming therapists) got Wyatt to to extend his hand to shake hers. We were all so proud. I'm not ashamed to admit there wasn't a dry eye in the room. Our Center has a proven success record in working with video game shut ins. Some of our graduates have been spotted out of their homes! Others are starting to talk to people they don't know!
OK, what's this picture really about? We are celebrating Wyatt's promotion to Flight Directorhood. Wyatt spent several months training to Flight Direct and today his hard work and frayed nerves paid off when Emily (Odyssey Set Director) presented his dress blues during out post camp meeting in Discovery. Wyatt is now ready and able to direct your next Odyssey mission. Congratulations Wyatt!
This is Zach. That is Stacy, Set Director for the Galileo. Zach passed the Galileo second chair position during the camp. He is now qualified to proudly wear the Galileo Pin on his lanyard. What does that mean? It means we trust him to run the audio, video and computer systems for the Galileo. Wow, so much responsibility for one so young yet that is the kind of volunteers we have at the Space Center.
This is Brandon. Brandon is dressed as a Magellan Security Officer. Brandon was awarded his One Year Service Pin today. Thanks Brandon for being a part of our elite group of movers and shakers at the Space Center.
This is Stacy. You remember her from an earlier picture. Stacy has found a way to make herself useful. She is testing our new twirling red alert lights recently purchased to help create the settings for our simulator's landing parties. We bought 12 of them I believe. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Yes you are. If demand for our camps and classes evaporate we could retool the Center into a pretty cool disco dance hall. Groovy Man........
Finally and firmly in last place we have Jon and his, his...... his........ (what is that?) hummmmm....... his........... It's his 'thing a majig'. Yea, that's what it is.
Wait, I know what that is. It's Jon's 23rd century automatic tea dispenser. How stupid. I should have known that. It makes a really nice British style cup of tea - and - using a nuclear powered heating system, keeps the tea warm until ready to dispense. Jon is going ship to ship offering the Flight Director's a nice cupper to keep 'em going. Jon's a good bloke.
(don't ask me what it really is. It's been floating around the Center for a few years now and used as a prop for everything from an alien communication device to a food mixer).
Anyway, so much Saturday at the Space Center. See what you're missing by not being here?
Friday, May 21, 2010
It's 10:35 P.M. on May 21, 2010. We are in the thick of another Overnight Camp. Tonight we are hosting sixth graders from Orem Elementary School (and a few others from other schools to fill out our camp numbers). I needed to get up from my computer and stretch my legs and decided to take my camera. What you are about to see is what I saw as I took a quick walk through the school to check on the ships. There is no theme to this post except to say that this is what I saw on a quick three minute walk to get the blood moving back into my legs. So, here we go - a few snapshots showing a moment frozen in time at the Space Center on a Friday Night.
This is Emily. She is playing the Grand PooPah for the Voyager's Mission. She is the first to admit she has no shame.
"I'm taking one for the team," she said. You old timers may recognize the creature in her arms. He's our little Alien from the Voyager Control Room. He was donated to the Voyager years ago by Shane Skaggs. He won it at Lagoon and thought the Space Center would make it a good home.
Zac H. is training to fly the Phoenix. He's seen here but I'm not sure if we're looking at the back of his head or his face. His hair is so out of control no one is really ever sure.
This is a shot of the Phoenix crew in mid mission. Alex A. is the flight director. They are doing the Phoenix's new mission "Murphy's Law" written by Bracken Funk.
Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone. I'm sneaking sugar from my secret stash kept hidden somewhere in the Discovery Room. A walk and a treat is just what the doctor ordered for 10:40 P.M. on a Friday Night. Hmmmm, shall it be salt water taffy or a Peppermint Patty or two. My solution, why ration? It's mine....... ALL mine.
As I stand and experience the wintry blizzard freshness of a Peppermint Patty I ponder the purpose of destroying the Discovery Room. I hear Mr. Daymont in the Magellan Control Room in full voice and character. It appears from his dialog the Magellan Crew is about to venture off their bridge and into this room where they will find the complete and utter distruction caused by maurading aliens aboard the Station.
Isn't it amazing what a red alert screen mixed with a classroom of overturned desks and chairs can become? At the Space Center it could be anything from
1. A classroom with overturned desks and chairs or.....
2. The command bunker of some alien world bombed from orbit by a race of reptiles moving through the galaxy searching and destroying all forms of mammal life they encounter.
Well troops, my walk is complete. It's nearing 11:00 P.M. I'll wander to the cafeteria to set out the ice cream sandwiches and cookies for the late night snack before we put the kids to bed. I'll get this posted but it won't be until after 11:00 P.M.
I hope this post spurred a few cherished memories from the Space Center to our old veteran staff who have since moved on to bigger and better things. My hope is that you never forget the time you spent here at the second Happiest Place on Earth!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
We are nearly there, the end of the school year looms before us. The seas are boiling with restless students but our ship is on a steady course for home.
We have a few openings for tomorrow's Overnight Camp (Friday 7:00 P.M. to Saturday 10:00 A.M.) for anyone ages 10 - 14 years old. You'll be joining the 6th graders from Orem Elementary School. If you're interested in attending please send an email with the following information:
Of course our Blog Reader's discount applies: $38.00 for the camp instead of the normal $43
Send your email to
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's been a busy Wednesday at the Space Center. AT 5:17 P.M. Emily just walked in with a McDonald's burger. She's going healthy for her sustenance meal. Emily has the Voyager 6:30 P.M. mission and is in limbo. Not enough time to go home and eat something before needing to come back.
Brittney is in the Odyssey running our two Junior missions this afternoon and evening. Brittney has a great attitude toward the Junior program whereas several of our other Odyssey Flight Directors find Junior missions slightly distasteful. They just don't like dealing with the younger campers. I'm glad Brittney feel differently. Thanks Brittney.
Bracken is in the Phoenix with Alex and Megan V. doing a 5 hour test run of his new summer mission "Murphy's Law". Tomorrow is Bracken's last day at the Space Center before leaving for university at Fresno California. He has a full basketball scholarship. Bracken has been a real God Send at the Center. His attitude and enthusiasm energizes me! (and that's something to be said). I for one will miss Bracken's energy, drive, ideas and just grit determination to succeed and be the best at whatever he does.
Bracken's new mission is awesome. I saw part of it on Saturday. It's involved so I hope we can pull it off without him here to hold our hands.
I enjoyed Pleasant Green Elementary School today for the field trip. One thing said made us laugh in the control room. I was telling "Perikoi". The ship survived the attack at Moon D of Planet 9. The new course was entered and the captain ordered "Emergency Speed!" The Voyager pulled away. The main viewer showed the moon recede behind them.
The Bridge was quiet. Everyone was working as the bridge music played (a piece I like from the Transformers. Bracken thinks its the wrong choice of music for the mood I'm trying to set and I disagree). A young girls voice suddenly rang out from the quiet and gentle humming of the engines.
"This feels real!" she said loud enough for everyone to hear.
Bill Schuler was in the control room. He looked at me and said something to effect that her comment pretty much summed up the secret of a Space Center experience. With just a bit of effort on the part of the crew it becomes real as imagination engages and the crew transcends the here and now for the land of What Could Be.
I enjoy my job. My dedicated staff and volunteers make it all fun and rewarding.
Are these dots moving? They are, yet they aren't you say. How can it be both? They either are or they aren't moving.
Can we really trust what we see or does the mind see what it wants to see?
Are we really in control?
Give it some thought. Careful, don't ponder it too deeply. The mind has a way of shutting down such idle mental wanderings.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
We, as a collective whole, have hacked into your blogger account to show our extreme distaste for your lack of posts in your "Enemy From the Dark" Story.
If you continue to do nothing, Emily will be inclined to smack you with that annoying space ship clock. Bracken will hire assassins. The bunnies that once haunted us, will return with a vengeance (like Bill... I mean mad dog). Jon will unexpectedly go out of town for the rest of the week... wait... Christine is going to lie to ALL of her crews... wait... Stacy will melt the new Galileo down, wasting the precious money that has gone into it. Randy will return for the sole purpose of shaking his hips. Taylor Thomas will continue to float in and out of the center... like a ghost. Brittney, and Mark will quit. I will personally kill the old Voyager TV... It's had it's day. Babb will once again scream Admiral through the Maggy speaks. Carrick will take your job. Bill Schuler will start wearing pants. Tanner won't ever show up for work... oh wait. Rachel will giggle and hug everyone. The Magellan Ghost will haunt the halls of the school. Todd Rasband will wear full on purple... Pants included.Warren will stop being witty, and make everyone feel smart... Cuz I feel stupid around him... His humor's too witty for my small brain... Chris Call will come back and cook breakfast in the Odyssey. Kyle Herring will expect pay. Maren won't come in for emergencies anymore. Colton will submit ALL his missions. We'll rearrange your desk. Panda will once again be the Space Center Mascot. DeBirk will show up even later than normal. The VOIP will never work. Todd Hadley will not give any more bail outs. We will be locked out of the basement FOREVER. The shop will burn down. Phasers will be banned, and we'll have to make shooting sounds using our fingers. Brian will turn the vacuum to the reverse setting when he comes. Margarite will replace Saint Sheila Powell as the head of Space Education. Sheila will continue to talk to crews endlessly when we need to load. We will make you get into Megan Vest's car more often. We will set off the alarm consistently every night. And we'll set off the smoke alarms with smoke machines. Brady will quit at Best Buy. Shelley will make us all fill out more paperwork. Kevin won't go on his mission. Casey will run for president... of the space center... Cuz he's not 40 and can't be president of the U.S., yet. Roger will not let you close or open the curtain. Alex will never program again. The district will no longer pay for power. The duck will quack (that is Brittney... She is a duck). Wyatt will breathe your air. Adam will assist. Ben will run into door frames, staining the center in his blood. Nicole will start being mean to the staff. Spencer and Brock will blow our minds by doing less work than normal. Metta will refuse to chaperone. We'll destroy your "love me wall". Aleta will pile more stuff on the clipboard than normal. Zack will grow a mullet, and pierce his ears, AND get a belt buckle at least twice the size of the Magellan. We'll cancel the summer missions. Lorraine will quit! YES QUIT! Emily will hug you constantly. Dragon Lady will bang on the Voyager wall. We will steal all the candy... Wait... Didn't we already do that... Hence it's relocation to the candy brig. Dave will fly Voyager junior missions. We will tie up the programmers making cocoa controls, and stick them in the animation studio. Matt Long will change his last name to short, return from training, and blow up your newly paid off house.
These are not threats, they are promises.
(Bracken Funk & Emily Perry)
(We created this character)
(We love her)
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It's Saturday at the Inn. While many who read this are enjoying a few days off work, please remember those of us in the trenches - scratching out our meager livings on the fringes of society. We toil in our control rooms, under seemingly unbearable working conditions for our scant wages, working to bring small bits of joy and happiness to those who find their way into our establishment along the carriage road out of our hamlet called Pleasant Grove.
Last evening we hosted a carriage of youngsters from Teaton Valley Wyoming. I believe they were lost and found our wayside inn as the evening settled. We were happy to offer entertainment and accommodations. They were a merry lot and thanked us repeatedly for giving them shelter. The nights in this county can be dangerous. Strange things have been sighted in the dark woods and fields after dark. It was providence they spotted our lamp swinging in the cool breeze from the moonlit lake.
Shortly after their arrival others arrived seeking warmth and amiable shelter until sunrise. They came from Northridge in the south country. Our inn was full and the welcoming lamp extinguished.
There was much laughter served with a trimming of fear in the tales told by our Troubadours last night. We were in good form with voices clear and instruments bright.
The night passed calmly, revealing a new Spring day. Our overnight guests are gone, the dust from the trail has settled and our Troubadours rest. The sun nears mid day.
We are stirred from our naps by the sound of approaching carriages. New guests are arriving. It is time to take up the lute and lyre and play again. It is what we do and we do it well.
Today we take a moment to honor our weekend staff. So while you lounge in your back gardens with drink and sun, think of us........
This is Bracken. He's a bit giddy. He just finished a full Overnight Camp and is currently in mid flight of a private 5 hour mission. He's telling his new Phoenix story, Murphy's Law. Bracken is demonstrating Stage 6, one of the many stages of weekend flight directing.
Refreshed and ready to go! The start of a Overnight Camp.
11:00 P.M. Mild exhausting sets in.
7:15 A.M. Full exhaustion due to a late night of flight directing and a restless sleep haunted by thoughts of a non responsive crew that is "on" to all our tricks.
10:00A.M. Mild hallucinations are quite common at the end of an overnight camp. Flight Directors are running on mental fumes and caffeine.
11:30 A.M. The first of two private missions arrive. Nerves are frayed due to lack of proper sleep and overworked imagination. Flight Directors are known to snap so extreme caution is advised when approaching an FD at this stage.
Second private mission. Flight Directors are beyond exhaustion and are entering that twilight existence of extreme giddiness. False feelings of euphoria are prevalent during this stage. A good second chair is required during Stage Six to keep the flight director on mission and facing the right direction. Handkerchiefs are a must to wipe away spittle that forms in the corners of a Stage 6 FD's mouth.
Collapse and coma like sleep. It is the end of the second private Saturday
mission. Visiting the Space Center during Stage 7 can be alarming. The scene reminds one of Jonestown. Flight Directors can be found passed out in the school's halls, chairs and tables. It is best to not disturb them while in this stage. Let nature take its course. Many of them will wake and go home before the school's alarms activated at 10:00 P.M.
This is Wyatt. He is happy. He is running solo this weekend. He finished his first overnight camp as primary flight director and is on his first Saturday private. Wyatt is paid in candy bars. He hopes someday to join the paid staff and receive real American money, none of that phony Canadian stuff. Until then, he keeps his cardboard sign, stool and dark glasses in the trunk of his parent's mini van. He's got a sweet spot on the corner near Geneva Road and Gandolfos. It brings in a good $5 - $6 per day. Its enough to keep him in soda.
This is Mr. Daymont. You'll notice he is demonstrating good coordination by successfully working a microphone and voice distorter at the same time. This ability characterizes a Flight Director in Stage 1. Mr. Daymont did not work the overnight camp and is therefore on his first Saturday mission. He is alert and mindful of his crew. His speech is clear, free of Stage 4, 5 and 6 slurring. His reasoning skills are excellent. Yes, an good example of a Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center Flight Director in true form!
This is Ben running the Galileo. He is assisted by Jordan. Both join Bracken in Stage 6 of Flight Directing, having successfully finished an Overnight Camp. They are in mid mission on their second Saturday afternoon program.
Ben seems giddishly happy. To someone not familiar with Stage Six Flight Directing one would think he is alert to the needs of his crew. What you don't know is that Ben's crew left the ship several minutes ago for a bathroom break and Ben continues the mission completely oblivious to the silence from the simulator. Jordon isn't helping the situation. He is so well trained that he continues to respond to Ben's commands, even though he is the one that took the crew to the restrooms a few minutes earlier.
This is Emily. She sits in the Odyssey Control Room helping Wyatt through his first experiences with the multiple stages of Flight Directing. Her computer is open to the Flight Director's Manual, ready to perform an intervention if Wyatt snaps. You'll notice the Disney CD to her right. Disney tunes are a must to bring a fading FD out of the panic attacks associated with Stage 5 flight directing and lure him gently into Stage 6 bliss.
Emily's hair is like a dangling string to a kitten. I encourage her to wear it back and away from her face so she isn't distracted. She defies my suggestions and insists it doesn't interfere with her work at all. You be the judge.
Our Programmers work tirelessly through the day on the Galileo's new Cocoa controls. They are showered, shaved, and deodorized, having arrived at the Center just before noon. They are the most alert and therefore act as anchors of reason whenever needed.
Jon and Stacy are in the copy room. It's Stacy's birthday today. She's been sung to multiple times yet seems to enjoy hearing the tune over and over. "I'm Stacy and you may sing to me," she was heard saying to her crew during their overnight camp in the Galileo. Instead of playing them indigestible death time music she had them sing "Happy Birthday". Let it never be said Stacy doesn't enjoy a catchy tune.
I caught them just as Jon was finishing his hip hop rendition of "Happy Birthday". He is a bit peeved that I interrupted his song but knows to hold his tongue. Chewing the boss out is not a recommended path to promotion.
Nathan is not a Flight Director. He is one of our new volunteers. Here he is working on learning the difference between clockwise and counterclockwise in the dimming and brightening of Odyssey's interior lights. In another week or so he will try for a pass. Good Luck Nathan!
This is the sign posted on the Odyssey's Control Room door. I find it well written with a good sense of artistic construction and effective use of color. Signs like these are prevalent throughout the Space Center but this one is by far the best. I thought you'd enjoy a moment of fine art before continuing.
And finally, the volunteers on Magellan's Saturday afternoon mission. What great volunteers we have at the Space Center. They are awesome. If it wasn't for their hard work covering the mistakes of our Flight Directors the Center would have closed years ago :)
Thanks Volunteers for everything you do!
And now, It is time for me to go console a FD entering Stage 5. I'm told he's on the floor chewing his microphone cable.
All in a day's work
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Its Thursday at the Space Center. My 6th grade math class is canceled. Can you believe they are substituting math and the rest of the morning's subjects for a nature hike up the mountainside?
Their reasoning is sound through. Our sixth grades finished their CRT testing, so for all practical purposes, math is finished. To celebrate everyone felt a few hours in nature was in order. I'm not complaining. I'll enjoy these few minutes before the field trips arrive and catch up on the Space Center's news.
1. Kevin Roberts will fly his last mission during this weekend's overnight camp. Kevin enters the MTC on Wednesday to serve an LDS mission. We will have a cake for Kevin and award his five year service pin right after the overnight camp on Saturday. You're welcome to come by if your not working the camp to give Kevin your regards.
3. Bracken Funk's last mission is next Thursday. Bracken will be leaving for Fresno California. He has a basketball scholarship and needs the summer to get up to speed. We expect to hear great things about both these awesome young men. The Voyager's summer mission program will be led by Emily Perry, Casey Voeks and Spenser Dauwalter.
4. We are expecting the delivery of a new $27,000 planetarium system today. Our old Starlabs are showing their age (multiple holes in the dome which effectively change the look of the night sky. The projectors are nearing the end of their serviceable lives, the dome's lining is shredding etc etc.) Mrs. Clegg is as giddy as a child in a candy shop in anticipation of the delivery. This new system was purchased on her recommendation. She travelled to Denver a year ago to see this system in action and came back very impressed. She promises their won't be a planetarium in the state that can do everything we will be able to do with this system. The planetarium will run shows during our summer camps and will then play a major part in next years school field trips.
5. The new Galileo is being fitted with an additional air conditioner. All those that sweated through missions in the Galileo will be grateful for the upgrade. The Galileo's new torpedo launching system is nearing completion as well. The Galileo's new Cocoa Controls will be installed and ready for use at the start of our summer camp season.
I was told I wasn't a very good crossing guard this morning by one of Central's witty third graders.
"Good morning," I said as I stood in the middle of the street to ensure her safe passage.
"You should have candy to give me when I cross the street," she said. She didn't look like she was having a good day.
"Why should I have a pocket full of candy to give the kids that cross my street?" I asked rather put out by her suggestion.
"Well other crossing guards give out candy and so should you. It's what you do to be nice," she responded as she hopped up to the sidewalk and continued toward the school's front doors.
You see, a smile and a friendly greeting just aren't enough these days.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I was reading through some old posts from the Space Center's old blog and thought I'd share this post written by Megan from a few summers ago. Enjoy.....
The Magellan staff record the funnier things crews say on their missions. I thought I would let everyone in on some of the fun. Keep in mind, this isn't everything; the grammar is theirs, not mine; and some have been... edited... to suit the district and protect young minds, so if it doesn't seem THAT funny, I promise it was the funniest
thing I've ever heard at that place, and possibly anywhere because of the context.
DISCLAIMER: IT'S REALLY LONG! BUT REALLY FUNNY. YOU DECIDE IF IT'S WORTH IT. I WARNED YOU!
One child on a mission seemed to have had a very good sense of smell. These were a couple of things he said:
"I can smell the radiation!"
"I know that smell! That's the smell I smelt before the intruder. Another one's coming on!"
We got several interesting messages through the
computers. Here are some examples.
MESSAGE FROM COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: "That means all of you are fired!!!!!
MESSAGE FROM OPERATIONS: "slim devil has been caught. I REPEAT THE SLIM DEVIL HAS BEEN CAUGHT"
MESSAGE FROM ENGINEER: "I am scared. Something in all black just came on and tried to kill us! But we are all ok."
AFTER FINDING OUT THE DAMAGE TEAM WASN'T QUITE DONE:
"Thanks! Just work as fast as you'd like
MESSAGE FROM COMMUNICATIONS: "Some people think things are forming and some think they are blowing up. And things are just getting strange!"
MESSAGE FROM STRAGETIC OPERATIONS: "Some aliens might come and kill you! Leave Until power and red alert are off Then return to your stations!"
MESSAGE FROM SURVEILLANCE: "Creatures are about to attack the bridge! HOLD ME!!!!!!!"
Some of our campers had very different opinions about how to deal with the creature that had gotten loose. These are a couple of the suggested ways:
SLIME DEVIL ANNOUNCED MOVING TO THE BRIDGE: ADMIRAL
"Alright, everyone back here! Everyone get back behind the desk!"
WHEN LOOKING FOR THE SLIME DEVIL: "Can we go up there and look? (POINTING AT THE CEILING!)
CREATURE ATTACKS: "It's a monkey!" "Die, die you stupid alien monkey!"
ADVICE FROM THE ADMIRAL: "Hit it in the butt!"
CREATURE GOT SUCKED INTO SPACE "Let's hope that creature doesn't come flying at the windshield and go *splat noise*"
INTRUDERS ARE COMING "Alright, if anything comes up here, everyone fire on it, not just one person."
(Security) "What, all two of us?"
CAPTAIN IS TRYING TO KEEP HER CREW CALM "Stay calm my butt!"
We had some very confused crews througout the summer. Here's some proof.
KLINGONS ASK IF THEY SURRENDER. (Lone child) "We surrender!"
(All in unison) " NNNOOOOO!!!"
FINAL BATTLE ENDED: (Kids) "We're dead!"
(Captain) "No we're not! They're running away!" ... "We're alive!"
LOOKING AT THE ANOMALY "What is it?" "It's a space center!"
"HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING ON THE THX?" "Yes. Well, no. "THAT
SOUNDS OMINOUS. WHICH IS IT, YES OR NO?"
"Yes! Well, actually..."
AFTER WATCHING A SHUTTLE GET DESTROYED
"Wahoo!!... Oh wait, is that a bad thing?"
CARGO SHIP EXPLODES "Hurray!" (Captain) "No, you guys. Exploding things is a bad thing."
THE ACTOR WAS TRYING TO FIND ADMIRAL SHULER.
"Are you sure you're on the right ship?"
"I'm his grandson!"
" Where's his desk?"
"How do you know he didn't just have plastic surgery?"
"IN THE LAST 15 MINUTES?"
EXPLOSIONS AS MAGGIE GETS SUCKED THROUGH THE ANOMALY
"What was that?"
" That was radiation and graviton and stuff."
"ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE ALRIGHT?"
"Yeah, well, we're 99% sure."
"WHERE'S THE ALTERNATE MAGELLAN?"
"They're in a different time zone."
Our Admirals had some very different ways to deal with our doctor (played by yours truly) in Invasion. (Just in case you don't know, a ship explodes, and I like to play it up and say my new husband or fiancee or someone of that sort was onboard.)
ADMIRAL NUMBER THE FIRST: "Alright, everyone, give the doctor your full sympathy. Her husband just died."
"Hey, you're good with women. Go cheer up the depressed doctor."
ADMIRAL THE WORSE: "The doctor needs to put her love life on hold... It's not a priority."
"No Doctor, stay down there. Here's a chair for you." (I stayed at the bottom the
whole mission through 2 phaser fights and a creature mauling."
Wanna hear some of what they said about their jobs?
DAMAGE CONTROL IS FEELING OVERWHELMED. "My day's been hard enough already!"
WE DON'T KNOW WHERE THIS ONE CAME FROM.
"What's going on? This thing's blinking."
"That thing's always blinking!"
DAMAGE IS LOOKING FOR A REPLACEMENT "I know how to do it. I've been damage control before." *DC SHOOTS A LOOK*
"Yeah, but I'm looking for someone more like me. More like me, and less like you."
WHILE TRYING TO KEEP A CREATURE DOWN: "Woo hoo hoo! I like my job!"
And, finally, some random ones that I didn't know how to group together.
"WE ARE READY TO BEING THE ATTACK WHEN WE GET THERE."
"Why does everyone want to blow up the planet?"
"60 SECONDS OF OXYGEN REMAINING" (Whole crew)
"59, 58, 57..."
"INCOMING ORION FLEET." "I never thought I'd be so happy to see the Orions!"
"CO2 SCRUBBERS ARE OFFLINE" (Damage control)
"Why are the CO2 scrubbers down?"
(Admiral) "Because such is life."
"RANGER IS NOT DOCKED." (Surveillance) "Can we scan if we're still in the docking port?"
"We ARE the docking port."
"IN THIS UNIVERSE, HUMANS ARE CONQUERING EVERYTHING."
END OF MISSION "You stupid reality! You suck reality!"
AFTER DEATH TIME WAS ANNOUNCED. (Captain) "No,
we're not dancing! Oh, fine, you can dance if you want. I don't care." (The crew then proceeded to sing and sway along with "Small World")
ANOTHER CREW'S DEATH TIME, SAME SONG. (Captain)
"Why are you doing this to us?!?"
TEN MINUTES OF OXYGEN REMAINING "Everyone breathe deep for the last ten minutes of your life!"
CREATURE ATTACK JUST ENDED. "How come creatures wear Nikes? I thought they'd have webed feet or something."
And finally, to top it all off, some staff quotes.
EMILY TO MEGAN (ON THE BRIDGE) "Hi Morgan! Oh wait, I'm Morgan."
SCREAMS COME FROM THE BRIDGE AS EVERYONE'S FAVORITE BOSS COMES TO VISIT. HE SAYS "Is that from the Magellan?
MORE SCREAMS. "Looks like Magellans coming back!"
Whew! Finished! And those were only the highlights of the highlights! If you made it through all of those and find yourself wanting more, feel free to come EARLY to a Magellan mission and ask a supervisor. I think the others know where they are. If not,
they're... challenged. By the way, if you didn't figure out which quote is the funniest thing EVER heard at the Space Center, I'm sorry. I'm not gonna tell you which one it is. You're just out of luck. How much longer should I keep going with this? I think I'm done.
Congrats if you made it this far!
Monday, May 10, 2010
The Imaginarium, Research for a Better World...