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

Sunday, December 4, 2022

The Starship Simulator Serving the Washington DC Area; A Part of the Dreamflight Adventures Network. 14,000 Volunteer Hours Given This Year. The Space Center's First Engineering Department Meets, April 2005

Mission Mobile at Explore Children's Museum 

     Mission Mobile uses Dreamflight Adventures simulator software and missions along with unique programs of its own.  Gary and Sarah Gardiner founded Dreamflight Adventures.  Gary's multiple trips to the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center as a young camper years ago was his inspiration to create Dreamflight Adventures.  That inspiration has led to multiple simulators east of the Mississippi River all of which can trace their ancestry back to the first starship, the USS Voyager in Pleasant Grove.

     Facts about the Mission Mobile program are listed below.

Mission Mobile Partnering Schools and Organizations in the Washington DC Area

Barnard Elementary School
C.W. Harris Elementary School
DC Parks and Recreation Summer Camps
DCPS Summer Enrichment Program
Dep. of Ed., Office of Education Technology
The Field School
Friendship Public Charter School (Chamberlain Campus)
Garfield Inquiry-Based Preparatory Academy
H.D. Cooke Elementary School
Horizons Day Camps—Maret School
J. H. Johnson Middle School
LAMB Public Charter School, Missouri Ave Campus
LAMB Public Charter School, Perry Street Campus
Levine Music (THEARC campus)
Langley Elementary School
LaSalle Backus Education Campus
Marie Reed Elementary School (via Higher Achievement)
Martha's Table
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
Murch Elementary School
National Building Museum
Payne Elementary School
Riverdale Park Station
Rose L. Hardy Elementary School
School Without Walls at Francis Stevens
SEED Public Charter School
Simon Elementary School
Sitar Arts Center
Smithsonian, Freer and Sackler Galleries Smithsonian Office of Education and Access
Stoddert Elementary School Summer Camp
Stuart-Hobson Middle School
The Field School
Washington International School
Washington Latin Public Charter School
Washington School for Girls
Whittier STEM Education Campus
Washington Tennis & Education Foundation

Thank You Volunteers.  You Are the Wind in the Space Center's Sails


     The Christa McAuliffe Space Center thanks its enormous volunteer force.  This year the total number of volunteer hours exceeded 14,000 hours.  

     Volunteering is the life blood of every Utah County Space EdVenture Center:  Christa McAuliffe Space Center, Renaissance Academy's The Space Place, Lakeview Academy's Lions Gate Space Center, Telos Academy's Discovery Space Center, and the American Heritage School's Space Center.  Volunteers do everything from operating the second chair position in many simulators, to playing multiple acting roles, to cleaning, to building props, and of course supervising campers and public programs.

The Space Center's Legacy in Pictures
The Foundation of the Engineering Department at the CMSC.  April 2005 

     Today, the Christa McAuliffe Space Center has an Engineering Department headed by Jade Hansen.  Both Space Center volunteers and staff are members. They meet on a regular basis to work on projects like 3D printing and simulator engineering panels and maintenance.  

     The Space Center's first Engineering Department started in April 2005.  Sadly, it wasn't long lived due to the difficulty of keeping it staffed with qualified people, but the kick off event was fantastic.  It met for the first time on April 2, 2005, a Saturday morning.  Dr. Long from BYU's Electrical Engineering Department was the presenter along with a few of his BYU students.  The goal of the inaugural meeting was to build computer boards to assist the Dr. Long's students.  His class was designing and building the Starship Voyager's Isolinear Chip / Engineering Station on the bridge.      

Our volunteers learn about soldering a computer board.  Jeremiah Robinson in the black shirt. 

Everyone hard at work on their computer boards.  In this photo you see Taylor Thomas, Spencer Robinson and several other Space Center volunteers.

Brent Anderson, in the white shirt, was the Space Center's Programming Department Head.  Kirby Glad behind him in the striped shirt was a long time Space Center supported and contributor.

Dr. Long working with three of our volunteers

This board is coming along fine

Kirby Glad and his twin sons discussing 
the project while a BYU electrical engineering student tests the
computer boards.

Imaginarium Theater

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Sunday, November 27, 2022

The InfiniD Computer Voice is Revealed (He's this old guy with glasses). More Staff and Volunteer Pictures from November 2004. Who Do You Remember? Also, This Week's Imaginarium Theater

 The Voice in Studio 1

     Last Wednesday, 9:00 A.M. I found myself at the world headquarters of InfiniD Learning in Provo, Utah. It's a small four room office with bathroom tucked away at the back of a decorative business office plaza near the Cottonwood Comfort Inn. I guarantee you'll get lost if you try to find it using a sign. There are none, except for a printed 8.5 X 11 sheet of printer paper taped to the front door's glass.  Once inside you'll be impressed by the Spartan atmosphere accented by the "if it don't have a use then it don't get bought" philosophy of office feng shui.  As for office perks, I believe I noticed a box of granola bars sitting on a shelve. I'm sure they'd share if you asked nicely.  
     I was there to record my lines for the upcoming InfiniD simulations set to drop worldwide sometime in the near future, or when Austin finishes the polish up work.  Austin is the sound man, possibly the production manager, maybe even the last stop for quality control, but for sure the keeper of the lego models - of which he has plenty.  "I'm here as ordered to record my lines," I said when he arrived to work.  I followed him to his office and with a click or two his computer was up and running.  
     "Is that Vic?" Syler Carr said as he appeared in the doorway. According to their website, Skyler is InfiniD's chief hand raiser. Actually, his desk is where the company's bucks stop.  That being said, he should change his handle to "Headmaster and Dispenser of Discipline".  
     "How are you Skyler!" I responded enthusiastically.  
     "Not too bad," he replied.  Once the pleasantries were exchanged our conversation turned to my role as the computer voice for all InfiniD simulations.  He expressed his satisfaction with my performance and continued by stating how cool it was that the voice of the 'guy who started it all' was heard in hundreds of school's nationwide every day. "Your legacy lives on!" he said in summation.  
     I thanked him for his kind words, while at the same time waited for him to follow the accolades with a request that I not take payment for the day's recordings.  Natalie Anderson, of Space Center fame, is another voice artist for InfiniD, and I can only imagine what she charges for her time and vocal orations :)  My day's volunteering sacrifice would guarantee her continued service.   But happily there was no such request.  The company was financially sound, as one could seen by the many lego creations hiding the beige walls of Austin's office. 

Reviewing my lines and checking on the pronunciation.  If I don't, I won't 
earn my "One Take Charlie," merit badge

     "Did you know that every once in awhile someone recognizes your voice?" Skyler said. "It's the older teachers who brought their classes to the Space Center for field trips back in the day."
     All this time I thought my voice was changed by a voice distorter before going out in the simulations. "So you can tell that the computer is me?" I asked.  
     "Austin adds just enough of a computer effect to change it slightly, but not to take the essence of 'you' out of the of voice," Skyler replied.  Austin pulled up a clip on his computer so I could here myself as the InfiniD computer - something I hadn't heard before.  Yep, I could hear myself in the voice.  "So, let that be your blog post for Sunday," he suggested.  
     So, because of Skyler's suggestion, my role as the computer InfiniD's computer voice is the lead story of today's blog post.  Let's hear it for the voice behind the computer effect! 

Meet More of the Staff and Volunteers of the Past.  Honors Night, November 30, 2004 (The Series Continues)

     Our last Blast from the Past post introduced you to the staff and volunteers who attended the Honor's Night of November 30, 2004.  Today I want to introduce you to more of those outstanding people  Here are a few more pictures from that Honor's Night.  All these great people are 18 years older and wiser today; some still live locally and others are, well who knows where, but to all of them I want to say thank you for your service to furthering the Space Center's great mission, To Create a Space Faring Civilization!

Metta Smith Earning a few more pips on her Supervisor Blues for Outstanding Service.  The Magellan and Metta were inseparable! 

These are the staff and volunteers who earned a coveted Mrs. Houston pillowcase to be used on the overnight camps.  OK, shall we try to name them all?  Left to right:  Thomas Harding, Amber McEntire, ? ,  ? ,  Jeremiah Robinson, Ammon Clegg, Emily Perry, Brayden Bodily, Jessica, and finally David Andrus.  

And earning their Mrs. Houston Space Blankets are Stacy Carrell and Jameson McDougall

     These are the outstanding volunteers who earned their silver one year of service pin.  I'm going to do my best to name them. Please fill in for those I've forgotten.  Left to Right:  (I forgot her name, but she lived in Park City and has gone on to become an engineer), Amber McEntire, ?,  ?,  Brent Anderson, ? , ? ,  Mark Daymont standing in the background, then Brandon Warner, Spencer Dauwalter, ? , Taylor Herring, Spencer Robinson, Kyle Parker, and the last two are unknown to me. 
     Sitting at the table are Chris Call (white shirt) and Dustin Robison (backward cap).      

     Jameson McDougall received his copper 5 year pin that day.

      Kendall Duclos and Brady Young were up for something. They already had their Supervisor Blues so let's leave it a mystery.

     Metta won a lava lamp for something.  

     And there on the floor sat Bryson Lystrup and friends. He is  providing play by play commentary on the evening with some comments complimentary but most unflattering and sarcastic :) 

     And finally we have Kyle Herring awarding David Andrus an atomic clock and his green shirt (for educational staff / flight directing).  

Imaginarium Theater
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Sunday, November 20, 2022

Jade Hansen Appointed to Head the CMSC's Engineering Department. The Galileo II at American Heritage School is to be ReArmed! The Old Girl is Making a Comeback! Imaginarium Theater.


Jade Hansen and James Porter discussing engineering things

     The Christa McAuliffe Space Center has a new Engineering Department Chief, or Boss, or Director, or Guild Master, or Head.  Jade will be replacing Matt Ricks. Matt did a real fine job but due to circumstances relating to life has had to step down.  

     Jade will continue his day job where he makes real American money (not that phony Canadian stuff) and run the Engineering Department during those few hours a week he sets aside for Space Center "fun" work (where he also makes American money but not that much - hey its good for a volunteer job right).  And let's not forget Jade's other Space Center responsibility - supervising in the Cassini.  

     The Engineering Department's primary responsibility is to build, create, and maintain the center's physical electrical props - like the dial and switch panels in the simulators.  Jade will be assisted by young volunteers who attend regular meetings / classes where they learn the trade.  

     This is the email sent to the staff and volunteers by Tabitha Ricks announcing Jade's elevation.  

I've an announcement in regards to our Engineering Department Head. Matt Ricks, who has been the Engineering Department head since 2019, will be stepping down. He has done a lot for the Space Center from helping with controls, to maintaining props and sets, to helping our ships move forward. We will be sad to see him step down from Engineering Department, but want to thank him for all he's done. If you see him around, make sure to thank him. You'll still see him in the planetarium and I'm sure he'll still be stepping in to help out here and there in the ships. 

Jade Hansen will be stepping in to fill Matt's shoes in Engineering Department. Jade first started volunteering at the Space Center circa Mr. Porter's age of volunteerism. (in the 90's) He's excited to help mentor all the wonderful projects that have been brewing in the minds of our volunteers and staff that will help make the Space Center a better place. Be sure to lend him your support by attending the department and giving him a pat on the back and a warm smile. Good luck to you Jade! 

Tabitha Ricks
Outreach Coordinator
Flight Director
Planetarium Navigator 

The Galileo II at The American Heritage Space Center Is About to be ReArmed


The Galileo II at American Heritage

     I know it's confusing to keep track of which Galileo I refer to in blog posts. That's what you get when you have two Galileo starship simulators in Utah County.  The simulator you see above is the Galileo II.  It was sold to American Heritage School when the first Space Center and Central School were torn down a few years back.  When I refer to the "Galileo" I'm referencing the Galileo simulator at the new Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  So know that we have that straight, let's get on with the story.
     Alex DeBirk and students are busily working morning, noon, and night preparing to open the American Heritage School's Space Center for its 2022- 2023 school year operational season set to start in January.  That preparation includes a full restoration of the Galileo II to its original glory.  That includes restoring the ship's probe and torpedo undercarriage launch capabilities.  
      At one time, when the Galileo II first opened, you could assemble probes / torpedoes inside the ship, lift the flooring, place the probe into the undercarriage launch tube, replace the flooring and fire away. That function ended because of mechanical failures.  In January, the function will return.  Here are a few pictures of the probe / torpedo modules. They're being build by American Heritage high school students.  

This is the Torpedo Launcher, a four port magazine which will slide side to side as the students use it to give the impression that the torpedo chamber has emptied itself.

(Above and Below) You're looking at torpedo casings currently being 3D printed by American Heritage students in the school's creativity lab.   

     I'm most impressed by the fact that this entire project is student designed and student manufactured.  Kudos to Alex DeBirk and staff for demonstrating how effective operating starship simulators can be in the hands on, day to day education of students.  

Imaginarium Theater

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