Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

A Few Space Centers' Updates. Imaginarim Theater

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center

Michael Holland was the Featured Speaker at the September Voyager Club Meeting


Michael Holland's Presentation on Saturday

     The Voyager Club at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center held its September Club Meeting on Saturday.  The Voyager Club is the Space Center's aerospace club whose mission is to create a space faring civilization. The Voyager Club members make up the Space Center's volunteering force.  There are over 100 members.  

     Michael Holland was the club's guest speaker on Saturday.  Michael is working on a Master's Degree at BYU. He works for NASA's Kennedy Space Center on their Swamp Works. He also does software development for astronomical observatories. He is also the president of BYU's astronomy club.  He and the Swamp Works team are developing mining robots to work on the moon's surface.  The robots will be used to extract water from the moon's soil.  

     Michael spoke to me after the meeting and thanked me and the Space Center staff and volunteers for instilling in him his first love of space and space exploration when he was 13 years old. Michael was a frequent space center camper during his junior high days.     

JJ Madigan is the Cassini's Newest Flight Director

Jon Parker Has No Choice but to Award JJ Madigan his 
Cassini Flight Director Pass

     In a stunning and unexpected decision, Space Center Asst. Director, the Great and Nearly Powerful Jon Parker, awarded JJ Madigan a Cassini Flight Director pass on Saturday. Flight Directorships are hard to come by. One just doesn't slip Jon a 20 dollar bill and walk away with your union card.  It can sometimes take a mind numbing number of hours in the flight director's chair with Jon sitting beside you breathing over your right shoulder before you an agreement is reached and your long apprenticeship ends. 
   JJ is already an accomplished Falcon Flight Director so the Cassini is another notch in his belt as he continues in his quest to conquer all six simulator chairs in what little time he has before life interferes and he is called to other things. 
     Congratulations JJ. 

Nan, a Master Imagineer 

Nan Found in the Act of Creation.  A Central Elementary School Hallway Transformed into an derelict Starship

    We highlight Nan Bryan today for her impressive work at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  Nan is a Cassini Supervisor who specializes in the art and science of transforming Central Elementary School's halls into otherworldly scenes.  Early this month I found her setting up an away mission for the 5 hour mission "Canada".  Her masterpiece of a bodyless crewman is her trademark.  Wrangling a mass of cables into something meaningful comes in a close second.  
     Without the budgets of a Disney park, all the Space EdVenture Centers in Utah County work magic in their school's hallways with a few lights, cables, and other trinkets.  This requires a heightened imaginative effort from both the staff and the simulators' visiting crew.  We've been doing this for 33 years and it has worked so far. 
     Congratulations Nan on on becoming one of those artists who can create so much with so little. I'm guessing you're also a master at creating Michelin star meals with a few leftovers in the fridge?

Jack Demonstrates What the Blender Class is Creating

     Jack is a young Space Center Voyager Club member and a student in the Space Center's Blender 3D Modeling Club.  These young modelers are learning how to use Blender to create special effects for the Center's six starship simulators.  
The Red Alert clip seen above was his Saturday's creation.   

Honor's Night on September 28th from 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Saint Sheila with her husband Lee

     The Christa McAuliffe Space Center will hold its biannual Honor's Night this Thursday in the planetarium theater.  Space Center volunteers and employees will receive a variety of honors linked to their achievements and lengths of service. 
     Sheila Powell, a former Space Center educator who passed away recently, will be honored with the Founder's Award at this Honor's Night. Her husband, Lee, will be receiving the honor on her behalf.  All former Space Center volunteers and employees who had the privilege of working with Sheila are welcome to come and join us as we pay tribute to our Saint Sheila, and her contribution to our mission of creating a space faring civilization.

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy

Two of the Four 5th Grade Young Astronaut Squadrons

     The Space Place's Young Astronaut and Voyager Clubs are busy every day, Monday thru Friday, from 3:30 - 5:30 P.M. with classes and space missions in the Starship Voyager for our 180 registered cadets.  With the goal of furthering the cause of human space exploration, our outstanding staff led by Bracken Funk, The Space Place Director, work hard at giving our young cadets in grades 3 through 9 both a fun and rewarding educational experience.  Last week we hosted our 5th grade squadrons.  This week our sixth grade teams will be on the bridge of the Voyager training for their 8 month long mission.  
     The Space Place also sponsors the Space Tech class for our 7th - 9th graders during the school day.  Group missions for family and friend groups are flown on Friday and Saturdays.  

The Discovery Space Center at American Heritage School

Alex Debirk is the Discovery Space Center at American Heritage School's 
Director in Addition to his position as High School Physics Teacher

     The Discovery Space Center at American Heritage School started a Voyager Club of their own.  This will be Utah County's third Voyager Club with sister clubs located at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and The Space Place at Renaissance Academy.  
      The DSC's Voyager Club meets every Wednesday after school at American Heritage School in American Fork.  The club is open to all AHS high school students.  Alex Debirk has the club divided into "guilds" or specialities.  
     1.  Writing Guild.  The Writing Guild learns how to write missions for the school's two simulators, the Discovery and the Galileo. 
     2.  Programming Guild.  The Programming Guild creates starship controls using the Horizon space simulation software. 
     3.  Media Guild. The Media Guild creates 3D computer graphics in Blender for the simulations.
     4.  The Engineering Guild using the school's industrial arts shops to create props and furniture for the simulators.     

Imaginarium Theater

The Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Did You Know the Christa McAuliffe Space Center has its Own Soundtrack? The Odyssey Has Been a Part of the Space Center for 30 Years. Imaginarium Theater

Through the talents of Greg Hansen we have been enjoying our 2nd official Space Center soundtrack. I realized though that we haven't shared the joy of this fantastic music with our community.

You can hear these impactful tunes using the link above and even purchase your own copy. It is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and it is a subject we care deeply about and want to support those in need. That's why we donate any proceeds we get from sales to our friends at Hope4Utah.
If you know someone who is struggling we encourage you to reach out and connect with them. If you aren't sure how then you can find some resources to help you at They are worth it.

James Porter
Director, Christa McAuliffe Space Center

The Odyssey Brand Has Been in the Space Center Fleet for 30 Years This Fall

The Odyssey III at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center
With Her Caring Staff

The sun has set on another birthday for our beloved Odyssey simulators (Odyssey, Odyssey II, and Odyssey III). Her presence in the Space Center's Fleet rounded the corner to the sophisticated and respectable age of 30. We have enjoyed many wonderful flights with her and I know you are just as excited to see what the next 30 years brings. As long as we clean up after the occasional space cowboys.

The Odyssey Over the Years

 This picture takes us back to the early 1990's  This is what the Odyssey looked like when it first opened.

I found these ultra cool black Apple computers that I knew had to be in the Space Center's newest ship ISES.   ISES is what I called the Odyssey when it opened.  Dave Wall was the designer and builder of the Odyssey.  He didn't like the name ISES (Inner Space Exploration Ship) and called the ship Seeker.  So, for a year or so, the Odyssey was called either ISES or Seeker, depending on who was talking.

The Entrance to the Odyssey

This disagreement had to be resolved.  People were getting too confused.  Dave and I compromised.  I gave up ISES.  He gave us Seeker (I hated that name) and we both agreed on Odyssey.

Back to the black computers.  Back then you could buy Apple computers in any color you desired, as long as it was white.  Then these black Apple's came on the market and, if you wanted to be cool, you bought one.  I was cool, so I bought several for the Odyssey.

They sat right out there in the open.  These were the days before we hid our computers behind black plastic screens.   

This shot was taken toward the front of the Odyssey.  I couldn't find enough black Apple's, so we had to include a white computer.  It messed up the color scheme but it really didn't matter.  I had a $25,000 grant to build the Odyssey and we had to stay in budget - mismatched computers or not.  

That's a dot matrix printer on the front counter.  It used stacks of perforated paper and made a racket as it printed messages.

The Odyssey II Opened in the Fall of 2013

The Odyssey II Opened in the Fall of 2013

The Odyssey II Opened in the Fall of 2013

The three Odyssey simulators were and still are great ships.  I know many of you had the opportunity to fly in an Odyssey over her thirty years in the fleet.  Just think of all those missions told by all those gifted flight directors......  good times, very good times.  
Happy Birthday USS Odyssey!

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Blast Off into a World of Learning: The 2023-2024 Young Astronauts Club Takes Flight at Renaissance Academy's The Space Place. I Find Irrefutable Evidence of a UFO Base In Utah County. Imaginarium Theater


The 2023-2024 3rd Grade Tuesday Lion's Squadron after their First Mission on the Starship Voyager. Staff Members of The Space Place Staff Serve as the Captain's for 3rd Grade Missions.

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy is thrilled to announce the opening of its 2023-2024 Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs. Designed to ignite the curiosity and passion for space exploration among students in grades 3 to 5 for the Young Astronauts and grades 6-9 for the Voyagers, these clubs offer immersive educational adventures through the cosmos from humble Lehi, Utah.

A Stellar Experience

The Young Astronauts Club is not just any after-school activity; it's a ticket to the universe. Renaissance Academy students have the opportunity to embark on monthly adventures that are out of this world. With each meeting, participants can expect a blend of education and fun that will inspire its members to look up and wonder about the mysteries of space.

Monthly Meetings: A Glimpse into the Universe

At the heart of the Young Astronauts Club are its monthly meetings. Each gathering offers a captivating blend of activities that cater to young, aspiring space explorers. Here's what our members can expect this year.

  1. Team Building Adventures: The meetings kick off with team-building activities, fostering a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among club members. Astronauts know that teamwork is essential when exploring the unknown.

  2. Cosmology and Astronomy Lessons: Learning about the cosmos and the mysteries of the universe is at the core of the club's mission. Students will dive into lessons on cosmology and astronomy.

  3. The History of Space Flight: History comes to life as young astronauts delve into the thrilling stories of past space missions and the pioneers who dared to reach for the stars.

  4. Starship Simulator: The Starship Voyager: The grand finale of each meeting is an adventure aboard the school's very own starship simulator, the Starship Voyager. Here, students embark on imaginary flights deep into the galaxy, navigating challenges that teach problem-solving, communication, and teamwork skills. It's a hands-on experience that brings the magic of space exploration to life.

Why Join the Young Astronauts Club?

  1. Inspiration for the Future: The Young Astronauts Club nurtures a passion for space and science, encouraging students to dream big and consider careers in STEM fields.

  2. Education Disguised as Fun: Learning about the cosmos has never been more exciting. Through engaging activities and simulations, students learn while having fun

  3. Teamwork and Problem Solving: Space exploration demands collaboration and quick thinking. The club equips students with vital life skills in a fun and immersive way.

  4. Imagination Takes Flight: The Starship Voyager simulator lets young astronauts embark on thrilling adventures that fire up their imaginations and transport them to distant corners of the galaxy.

How to Join

For parents and guardians looking to enroll their budding space enthusiasts in the Young Astronauts Club, registration details can be found on The Space Place at Renaissance Academy's website. Don't miss the chance to set your child on a trajectory towards a lifelong love of space and science.

The 2023-2024 Young Astronauts Club promises to be an astronomical adventure like no other. With monthly meetings filled with excitement, education, and inspiration, students from Renaissance Academy are in for an unforgettable journey through the cosmos. So, get ready to blast off into a world of learning at The Space Place!

Mr. Williamson Finds a Secret Alien Extraterrestrial UFO Base in Utah County.

Startling Evidence of the Existence of Intelligent Alien Life on Earth. Who Knew They Also Love a Good Steak Dinner

No one on this planet has better proof of the existence of UFOs and their purpose for visiting the Earth than your very own Mr. Williamson. I capture the best, clearest, most accurate photo of a UFO last Thursday while waiting for my car to be serviced. There, parked on a nearby building, was a small silvery space craft with just the top of a balding alien head protruding up into the dome. It had just captured a cow from a nearby farm and had landed for some unknown reason, possibly to acquire a good sauce to go with the steaks they were sure to be enjoying later that evening.

Behind the saucer was the word "Help" hastily scrawled on the side of the building. Was this innocent looking building a secret UFO alien base. Were human captives being held inside? Were they being experimented on? Perhaps the aliens were force feeding them hamburgers to see just how much a human stomach can hold?

My first reaction was to run, but using all my mental and emotional strength, I held my ground and watched. I listed the pros and cons of a direct attack. The biggest con was an appropriate weapon capable of neutralizing an alien. The nearest weapons capable of such a feat were safely locked away in the Costume Closet of The Christa McAuliffe Space Center. So after completing my lists of pros and con I realized that I was a natural pure blooded coward, so I chose to sit this mini-invasion out and hide behind the shop to document the event with my iphone.

Where did this encounter of the 4th kind take place? I won't say due to the fact that by doing so could put you, this blog's fair readers, in danger. However, if you should find the location on your own without any clue from me, let me know.

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium Theater.

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