Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.
SpaceCampUtah@gmail.com

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Summer Space EdVenture Camps Update: It's Busy at The Space Place and The Christa McAuliffe Space Center. A Tour of the Starship Voyager While the Campers Deal With Multiple Problems :) The Phototron from the Old Voyager Appears! Imaginarium Theater


Kade and Canon man the Operations Station on the Starship Voyager

It is a busy summer at Utah's Space EdVenture Centers.  The Space Place at Renaissance Academy and the Christa McAuliffe Space Center at Central Elementary are either at capacity or nearly there.  I'm enjoying my time at both locations.  I'm a flight director on the Starship Cassini at the CMSC. I help wherever Bracken needs me when I'm at The Space Place. 


The Voyager's Brig holds a couple galactic 
troublemakers waiting to be questioned



                 The Voyager's Defense Station with Maintenance at the back

Last week I spent some time on the Starship Voyager to take a few pictures and video of the crew at work. Seeing these young campers in this immersive environment, working together to solve the multiple problems a 5 hour long mission throws at them, is impressive.  

The Starship Voyager may be the largest starship simulator in the Space EdVenture's Utah Fleet when you take into account its bridge, hallways, brig, engineering room, and sickbay.  Just to show you, I made a walk through video of the ship while the campers were in a 5 hour long mission. 

 


What Happened to the Phototron from the Original Starship Voyager?  


The Phototron on the original Starship Voyager's Bridge

The Phototron was donated to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center when it first opened in 1990.  It sat in the small room adjoining the ship's bridge.  The Phototron is a small greenhouse.  The small room off the bridge was a science bay when the ship first opened and yes, I had plants growing in the Phototron.  Soon it became impractical to continue the science bay once the CMSEC focused on district wide field trips.  At that point I moved the Phototron to the bridge where it sat at the top of the bridge stairway.  It was a set decoration with a cool red light on the interior.  

The Phototron disappeared after the 2012 remodeling closure and I hadn't seen it sense (or at least I don't remember seeing it) UNTIL this last week.  I walked up to the Voyager's Bridge and what did my wandering eyes behold - the Phototron back where it belongs on the bridge of the Voyager II.  
 

                                           

There it sits in all its glory, right off the bridge near the Operations Station.  Welcome back Phototron!  All you need is your red light and you'll be back to business.  


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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Upgrades to the Farpoint Universe Visual Effects and News of Great Things to Come in Space EdVentures Software. Alex Anderson Visits the Voyager. Imaginarium Theater

Hello Space Fans,

Last week I received and email from Dr. Ryan Anderson. He is the director of Telos Discovery Space Center and a co-founder of Telos U.  He gave me an update on the newest special effects being created for the Farpoint Universe.  Farpoint is the science fiction universe used by Telos U, The Space Place at Renaissance Academy, and the Space Center at American Heritage School in American Fork.  The effects were done using Unity and illustrate the direction we are going in mission development. 

Ryan's email also included news of Dimension X, the company started by his Unity developer friends from Lockheed.  Dimension X will be creating starship simulation software which will give those who want to create space travel simulations the tools necessary to accomplish their goals.  Check out the links he gives in the following email:       


We are continuing to upgrade the quality of our visuals for tacticals. I have included a link to a video that shows the current state of our visuals and animation. We are learning to use Unity a lot better. This one shows some improvements in the use of lighting, particle physics, and animation in general. 




Dimension X, the company started by our Unity developer friends from Lockheed, has now launched its website, which clearly includes its work that it is doing in partnership with us (look under the "services" tab). Our hope is that Dimension X will provide the tools that space simulation companies--and many more people who want to create and share their own Space Center experiences--can use to be successful. You can find Dimension X at dimx.dev
Friends, please take a moment to visit their website to learn more about Dimension X. 

Alex Anderson, The Founder of Thorium, Visits the Starship Voyager at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy.  It was A Walk Down Memory Lane.

Natalie, Alex, and Bracken on the Voyager

Last week I got to catch up on old times with my good friend Alex Anderson.  Alex worked for me all those years ago at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.  Alex was in the Starship Voyager's design and wiring from day 1. In his spare time he got married, moved to Boston, and has a baby daughter.  Alex was in town visiting family. 

I found the old ladder used in the original Voyager's bridge sleeping quarters / sick bay / captain's quarters being used in the new Voyager's brig / decon. Apparently it has been their for awhile. I've just not noticed.

Alex is big brother to Natalie Anderson, the Odyssey's Set Director at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  Natalie accompanied Alex as driver :)


Natalie Anderson reminiscing about the turning doors of the old Space Center.
The Voyager uses two of the doors as part of the starship set.

As many of you know, Alex is the creator of Thorium - the software every Space EdVenture Center in Utah County uses to operate their starship simulators.  This fact alone makes him a legend.  Of course we talked about the good old days. Of course we talked about the new Thorium he is developing (in his spare time).  

Speaking on behalf of every employee, volunteer, and patron of the various space centers in Utah County, I want to thank Alex for Thorium. Without it I don't know where we would be regarding operational starship software.  

Alex is a gentleman and scholar.  It was good to see you again.   

Victor. 

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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Converting A School for Summer Space Camp. Learn About Two Companies that Trace Their Beginnings to the Space Center and This Week's Imaginarium Theater

The Starship Voyager Control Room. Please Forgive Livy for eating during the photo.  I 
came with cupcakes and Livy couldn't resist.
Renaissance Academy, Lehi

Converting a School Building for summer space camps is something that happens yearly at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy in Lehi.  With teachers and students gone for the summer, the school's halls, classrooms, and gym are perfect locations for those favorite "away mission" story elements.  An "away mission" gives the campers a break from the starship bridge. The venture out into the darkened school hallways to explore, retrieve, or discover.  

The Space Place's staff and volunteers await the campers in character be it as aliens, or human characters in the mission's storyline.     

The Space Place volunteer staff for the June 8th space camp just about to
get dressed for their away mission characters

dark plastic curtains are hung to section off away mission areas and to prevent campers
from seeing the 'real world' through the school's doors

tables are handy obstructions to give the campers places to hide while they
maneuver through the set. 

The school's hallways are decorated with special mood lighting and other set pieces to create atmosphere. 



In one of this summer's missions, the campers are on a search to find a revolutionary formula to change the very nature of the warp field for faster than light speed.  Brayden was tasked with creating the formula and detailing it on a classroom whiteboard for the campers to discover during an away mission. 




The Space Place at Renaissance Academy offers summer space themed camps for students in grades 3 - 9.  Visit the website to learn more and to sign up.  The staff and volunteers are waiting to give you an out of this world experience you'll always remember.  


Celestial Horizons and StormTeam Simulations; Two Company that Trace Their Beginnings to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center 

Nathan taking the Odyssey Set Directorship and James and Christine Smith 
        

Nathan Young is the Creative Director of Celestial Horizons and former Odyssey Set Director.  He, along with retired Space Center greats Christine and James Smith, are a few of the original founders of the company.  The following is a description of the company, its mission, and goals taken from the company's website:  

At its heart, Celestial Horizons is a story—a story of humanity on the edge of space, trying to find its way back home to a past it thought it knew. It’s a story about the nations caught at the collision between a new world and the one they left behind. It’s a story about the people at the forefront of history, trying to shape the future into everything it should be.  

Celestial Horizons is a community-driven event, responding to the actions of everybody who decides to get involved. Audience members will have the opportunity to step into this story in a variety of roles, such as members of the government, crews of the ships, or intelligence operatives. You will act as diplomats, explorers, and soldiers. Your actions become canon in our extended universe, permanently shaping the course of the story.  

It’s a story that’s being told through a wide variety of formats. We’re making podcasts, blog posts, and videos. It’s told through emails, in chat rooms, and during live streams. We’re in the process of making it a weekly live-streamed web series, featuring a starship simulator, high-quality animation, and a cast of talented and engaging performers. Eventually, you and your friends will be able to step onto the bridge of your own ship at an official simulator facility. One day, you’ll be able to take that simulator home.

 

On May 24 Nathan released a video to answer the question, "Who is Celestial Horizons?"  In that video, Nathan talks about his time at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and the impact that time has had on his life. It is a tribute to the Space Center's vision and the role the Center's volunteering program has on the many who volunteer and staff the simulators.  Please take a moment to watch this 3.5 minute video.  

  


StormTeam Simulations an Upcoming New Organization in the Space EdVenturing Community



Hello Space EdVenturers! 


     Many of you older Space EdVenturers remember Jordan Foutin from his days at the Space Center I.  Recently Jordan informed me of a new project he has undertaken, StormTeam Simulations which he expects to launch later this year. 


Jordan working IIfx in the Voyager.

That's old Mr. Williamson working the microphone :)


  Jordan’s space center career began in the early 2000s after he participated in field trip experiences in the original USS VoyagerJordan demonstrated strong leadership qualities and storytelling skills and joined us as a high school intern as a Voyager supervisor. As is sometimes necessary, Jordan earned a rapid battle-field promotion to Flight Director for the field trip program. From there he took on private missions and overnight camps.  He trained as a Phoenix flight director. Jordan proudly served as a regular flight director for several years. In February 2010, he took a temporary hiatus to pursue an undergraduate college degree in Oregon with course work tailored to support his space center career plans. 

  Jordan returned to Utah in 2013 and worked at the Discovery Space Center when it was located at Stonegate Center for the Arts in Pleasant Grove. He flight directed the UCS Columbia and was reaffirmed his skills as an outstanding storyteller and leader. Seeing an opportunity for a corporate communications training model, Jordan returned to university to pursue his MBA and develop his vision which has become StormTeam Simulations. 

     StormTeam Simulations’ primary for-profit focus will be corporate communication training. The company will similarly offer year-round private group entertainment events to the public. StormTeam Simulations' initial simulator fleet and launch date will be announced on StormTeam Simulations’ Official Facebook page, and on The Troubadour. 

  Jordan completed his undergraduate in communication and technology and completed his MBA in May 2022.



  Jordan’s novel, STORMTEAMis available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will be published on July 4, 2022. 


StormTeam Simulations' Official Website

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Facebook page

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Twitter page

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Instagram page


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