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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Where are those Old Space Center Staff and Volunteers from the Briefing Room's Old Staff Photo Board Today? An Update from the Space Centers. Space News from Telos DSC. Imaginarium Theater

 See Those Faces Once Again from the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center's Staff Board during the Voyager Era.

The CMSEC's Briefing Room in 1991. Mr. Harward, Central Elementary Principal is Standing in the Doorway.

This is how the Space Center's Briefing Room looked in 1991 before the Odyssey and Phoenix were built.  Today's current Odyssey control room occupies the space where I stood to take this picture.  I had the Phoenix built where the recessed lockers were located along the left wall.  Today's Phoenix Control Room's door would be right behind where Mr. Harward is standing.  This picture was taken even before I had the lockers removed and had bunks installed for the overnight camp staff. 

The Briefing Room was used as my office, the field trip classroom and my classroom for math and history. In the early 1990's I taught one period of 6th-grade pre-algebra daily before the field trip bus arrived at 9:30 P.M.  At 1:45 P.M. I taught one period of 6th-grade social students after the field trip kids left. I was a busy bee for sure. I'd conduct Space Center business from 3:30 P.M. to whenever the private mission arrived.  In those days, with only one simulator - the Voyager, and me being the only flight director, I'd have private missions nearly ever late afternoon or evening. I'd get home between 8:00 and 9:30 P.M. and do the whole thing all over again the next day.  There were many sacrifices made in those early days to ensure the Space Center would survive, flourish, and become what it is today.

I relied heavily on a great group of volunteers and underpaid staff in those days.  They kept me sane and put up with my frequent moments of extreme focus brought about by exhaustion and stress.  Many a time I'd be flying the field trip or private mission at the same time an urgent phone call would come in, at the same time knowing I had a social studies and math lesson that needed preparing, knowing that one simulator wasn't going to do the job and desperatly trying to find a way to structure the overcrowded field trips into one simulator, etc....  It was my volunteers and staff that did so much by taking the load off my back when the could.

In those days I put their pictures on the Staff Board at the front of the room. Recently I found the envelope with those early staff pictures and thought I'd share some with you today and in the next post.

I'd like to introduce Landon Hemsley.  Back in the day I called him Helmsley, something he'd occasionally correct me on but usually just accepted the fact that I wasn't always operating with both oars in the water and let it go.  Landon was with us for several years, starting as a Voyager Club volunteer then working his way into a Blue Shirt then a Flight Director for the Odyssey.  
Today Landon is a web application developer at Montana Interactive, lives in Helena, Montana, is married with kids.  

Landon is awesome, look at him in this somewhat recent picture taken while visiting his family in Utah. YES, he's wearing his Space Center Flight Director shirt. Good Boy Landon.
You can reach Landon through Facebook. Thank you Landon for the time and dedication you gave the Space Center.  

Ben Hoglund's picture from the STAFF board

This is Ben Hoglund.  Ben was a great volunteer and if memory serves me correctly worked primarily in the Magellan. Ben gave his all in our after camp Bombardment tournaments in Central's gym. One on occasion he went down and broke both wrists. Ben, if you read this, let me know if I've got that wrong.  I know that Ben graduated from BYU and married in 2012.  Thank you Ben for the time and dedication you gave the Space Center. 

Richard Orcutt

This is Richard Orcutt's STAFF board photo taken when he was 14 years old. The back of this photo says that he was a Magellan Specialist. I lost touch with Richard, but am happy to say that after this post went out Richard sent the following update.  I'm pleased to see he is doing so well.

Mr. Williamson

I graduated from USU in 2013 with an economics degree. During college, I was an intern for the US state department in Guangzhou, China; on the executive board for my fraternity; and a student lobbyist to the Utah legislature. Since Utah State, I have worked in a few odd positions as the economy recovered. Currently, I am earning my MBA from the University of Montana, and I am a financial analyst for a large military engineering firm in Salt Lake City. I recently bought a house and adopted a dog. I have 10 nieces and nephews, who I spoil as much as I can. I still think about the Space Center, and even dream about it sometimes. I wish I was in contact with more former CMSEC staff so I could share the crazy missions I've been on in my sleep. It's funny how things like the Space Center stay with us for so long, I suppose the experiences I've had in those simulators helped shape a lot of my worldview. Who knows what if any social interaction my awkward Junior High self would have had without being a volunteer. There are not many options out there for young nerds who don't know when to stop talking. Thanks for making it all happen! 

Richard was with us at the Space Center for several years; again, a fantastic volunteer and staff member. 
Thank you, Richard for the time and dedication you gave the Space Center. 

Chase Wooten
Our final photo in today's post of pictures from the Space Center's STAFF Board is Chase Wooten. Chase was a steady, dedicated volunteer and staff member for many years.  In fact, it was Chase's dad who built the Phoenix. 
Chase grew up, went on an LDS mission, came home, married and went to dental school.
He is currently serving his country as an army dentist in Weiden in der Oberpfalz, Germany.
Thank you Chase for the time and dedication you gave the Space Center. 

An Update from the Space Centers

Nathan King, Director of the Lionsgate Center at Lakeview Academy, Saratoga Springs and Alex Anderson, Overlord and All Knowing Master Developer of Thorium are pleased to announce that  Thorium Starship Controls have been programmed into the Center's two state of the art starship simulators, the Apollo and Atremis. The controls are being tested and if all goes according to schedule, will be used this month for both space missions and private flights.  

The USS Voyager at the Farpoint Space Education Center, Renaissance Academy, along with the Odyssey at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center have Thorium.  In December, the Voyager conducted a successful Thorium mission.  

Farpoint's Isaac Ostler is nearly finished with his Interstellar Starship Simulator Controls. They are installed on the Voyager and at Lionsgate.  I, for one, am excited to use these new controls. Each has unique features and work well with different audiences. Every space center in the SpaceEdVentures network of simulators are welcome to visit the Voyager to see demonstrations of these new controls. Contact me at


Update From the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center

Astronaut visits Central Elementary and the Space Center were on hand to share in the experience. Ok, so it wasn't a real astronaut, but we appreciated getting to see this amazing costume that brightened and inspired Mrs. Crandall's 2nd-grade class. As we excitedly approached him it reminded me how much I admire the courageous women and men who have ventured into space.#whatiwanttobewhenigrowup

The CMSEC Daytime Field Trip Gang
Of course, you should like the CMSEC's Facebook page.  Lots of exciting things coming like these camps - perfect for all ages. 

Sign up your 10-16 year old for a space camp. $40 for a 6-hour mission, dinner, and amazing experiences. The next camp is on January 20th.
Due to high demand, The Space Center has added another adult camp spot for February 9th. Tag your friends and form your crew.
Thanks for your support. 25% of funds from school year camps are directly applied to support the Center's field trip program.
Space and Astronomy News 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly through the Orion nebula? Wonder no more.
Take a three-dimensional fly-through of the Orion Nebula. This newly developed visualisation uses real data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope to create a stunning view of Orion’s famous stellar nursery. By alternating between visible and infrared views, this movie shows strikingly different details and reveals a more complete picture of the Orion Nebula. See more at

Scientists found water just beneath the surface of Mars. Here's what we know.

Pictures from Jupiter

The Sky is Falling

How would you handle a space station that has been lost to tracking and is falling out of the sky, potentially on course to hit a populated area? This may sound like a mission from the Telos Discovery Space Center, but it's a real life dilemma that we are facing right now! 

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Gifs of the Week Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Newly Discovered Pictures from 2002. The Space Center Staff at Work and Play. Theater Imaginarium.

Hello Troops,
Today The Troubadour gives you a few more newly discovered pictures from 2002 of the staff at work and play.  

Brent Anderson and Casey Voeks
 Brent is wearing his Baby Blues, a color reserved for my Programming Guild at the Space Center.  Casey is in his Flight Directors Blues.  Brent is sitting at the desk across from mine usually reserved for programmers.  Casey must have been given a special dispensation to rest so close to the seat of programming power.  The new USS Odyssey occupies this space in today's Space Center.  

Alex Anderson
Of course Alex Anderson is drinking a caffeine free Dr. Pepper, his drink of choice back in the day.
Alex is decked out and ready to make an appearance on the Magellan as someone of enormous importance from whatever planet he says he's from at the moment.   

Lorraine Houston
Here we have Mrs. Houston, the honorary mother of all past and present Space Center staff and volunteers; and let's not forget a true veteran having logged more years at the Space Center than anyone else, including me.  I hired Lorraine shortly after we opened. She is still there today working as the head teacher of the CMSEC's field trip program.  She has her signature lunch of choice in hand - a yogurt.  

Jennifer Remy
Jennifer Remy was my summer camp teacher for several years in the early 2000's.  Here she is with a group of campers in doing their class rotation.  In those days the summer 48 hour camps took 63 campers in each, divided into three rotating groups of 21.  One group was always in a class session while the other two were in the simulators.  They were 5-hour rotations with ten in the Voyager, five in the Galileo, 8 in the Odyssey, six in the Phoenix, and 13 in the Magellan.       

Christine Grosland and Stacy Carrell in the Odyssey
Two flight directing legends found in the Odyssey getting it ready for another rotation.  Stacy was a Galileo flight director back then, perhaps the Galileo Set Director.  Christine was forever devoted to the Odyssey.    

Megan and BJ Warner
 Megan was the Phoenix Set Director at the time (I think) and always willing to jump into costume when needed to add a bit of pizzazz to her missions.  Her brother BJ was always willing to act a part.

Metta Smith
Metta was a Magellan supervisor and perpetually cold.  I'm assuming Brent is absent because Metta is clearly sitting at the programming desk in the Briefing Room.  

Megan Warner
There we have it current Phoenix staff, Megan in her Marine outfit.  There is a picture of Megan in the Phoenix control room today of Megan in this costume.  She wore it no matter what role she was playing (ok, maybe an exaggeration, but there is a kernel of truth to it.)

Christine at the Odyssey's Helm
And finally, we end this series of photos with Christine flying the original Odyssey.  I wonder if she has ever calculated the number of hours she spent in that tiny capsule of a control room taking hundreds and hundreds of student on missions over the years she worked at the Center.

Mr. Williamson

Theater Imaginarium
The Best Gifs of the Week Edited for a Gentler Audience

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Post from the Past. May 2001. Announcing the Opening of the First Private, Commercial Simulator, the USS Pathfinder. Also, The First Telling of the Magellan Mission Tora, Tora,Tora. The Imaginarium.

Little did he know back then that he would grow up and become the Director of the Center

Post from the Past
Dave Wall Announces the Opening Day of His New Pathfinder Simulator in Salt Lake City
April 27, 2001

Friends of Space, Simulation, and the Pathfinder,

It looks as though the fateful day is finally (almost) here...the Pathfinder will officially launch on May 5th, 2001. This day also marks the 40th anniversary of the first American in space...Alan Shepard became the first American to go into space on May 5th, 1961. It also marks the end of Space Week ( has a week).

There will be an open house with tours, maybe some activities or demonstrations and will take place on May 5th, between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. (0100-0300 GMT). The Pathfinder is located at Bonneville Elementary, 1145 South 1900 East, Salt Lake City, UT in a trailer on the north side of the school. You are all welcome to come and see this amazing event! Invite your friends!

Hope to see you all there.

Dave Wall
Pathfinder Space Simulation

Post from the Past
The USS Pathfinder, the Eleventh Simulator, Opens Tomorrow
May 4, 2001

Good Morning Troops!

Tomorrow afternoon will usher in, according to my calculations, the eleventh simulator generally based on our model in the world. Tomorrow the Pathfinder will open its doors. The Pathfinder is a private simulator designed and owned by Dave Wall

The history of this type of simulation can be traced back to the first simulation based on this model, the Pegasus (1983). From there the history is as follows:

1. Pegasus: 1983 - 1986 (Central Elementary)
2. Orion: 1986 - 1990 (Central Elementary)
3. Voyager: 1990 - Present (CMSEC)
4. Explorer I: 1992 - 1995 (Mobile)
5. ISES/Seeker/Odyssey: 1993 - Present (CMSEC)
6. Explorer II: 1996 - Present (USU) 
8. Chiron: 1996 - 2000 (Granite School District) 
7. Questar: 1997 - 1998 (Provo School District)
8. Galileo: 1998 - Present (CMSEC) 
9. Magellan: 1999 - Present (CMSEC)
10. Falcon: 2000 - Present (CMSEC)
11. Pathfinder: 2001 (Private)

(I realize my years may be a bit off. Anyone in the egroup that has correct years or other information please send that on to me). 

People say that Utah's space pioneers are those that have ventured into space (Jake Garn and Don Lind). That is true, but may I also add the following to that list:

Steve Wall
Dave Wall
Mark Daymont
Pat Bown
Kyle Herring
Chris Alldredge
John Barainca
Ed Douglas
Lois Douglas

All the above have created simulators where there were none before. I consider them a different type of space pioneer - citizens working to excite a new generation of children about space and its possibilities. 

In addition to the pioneers listed above may I add the following to that list:

Bill Schuler
Lorraine Houston
Fred Olsen
David Merrell
Aaron Yeager
Jennifer Remy

All of whom are set directors,flight directors, or educators at the Space Center. All dedicated individuals that have the vision of the future and where the conquest of space will lead us.

Let us all join in welcoming the Pathfinder to our family of simulators in Utah.Congratulations to Dave Wall and those that helped him put this project together! Good luck to our sister ship and may all those that sail in her enjoy learning taken to its fullest. 

To those that are interested in touring the Pathfinder - the open house goes from 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. Saturday. I hope to see you there. 

(for address and location please refer to Dave Wall's post on the matter)

Mr. Williamson

Post from the Past
The USS Pathfinder. A Report on its Opening. 
May 6, 2001

Hello Troops,
A report on the opening of the Pathfinder at Bonneville Elementary School in Salt Lake City.

Yesterday I attended the opening of Dave Wall's new simulator "Pathfinder" along with Mr Daymont, Mr Schuler, James and Stephen Porter, and Brian Hawkins. The simulator is located in a small trailer on the north side of the school. 

From the outside it looks like any office trailer you would find on a construction site. You enter from the south end up a couple of metal steps. Once inside you find yourself in a small narrow hallway. Turn left and take a couple steps and you enter the control room. Turn right and take a couple steps and you enter the simulator proper. Everything was what I expected until I entered the simulator proper. I was truly amazed at what I saw. Dave has done an excellent job. The walls are painted the same colors as the back wall of our briefing room . There is even the same blue band along the wall separating the colors. The workstations very closely resemble the Voyagers. In fact, anyone that has flown in either the Voyager or Odyssey would find themselves very much at home in the Pathfinder. The computer stations at many of the stations are very Odyssey like. The communication station looks like the first officer's station on the Voyager. What is different is the size. It is roughly 1.5 times bigger than the Odyssey. Another difference is the front of the simulator. There is the typical large screen TV behind the black plastic but coming down from the TV are two stations built into the same piece of furniture. It looks like the front of a ship. Under the main view screen are the speakers - all hidden from view. 

We all were impressed with the lighting. Dave found some very "cool" lights that would be nice to buy and equip our sims with. He also has 3 strobe light mounted on the ceiling pointing down to the floor. There are also red alert lights and the turning "police" red lights 
like the Odyssey. The Pathfinder has metal chairs for the crew. The carpet is blue with a thick pad (I notice things like that because I sleep on the floor on overnighters). 

There was a short launch ceremony. We shut the outer doors and launched the Pathfinder for the first time. Yours truly got to operate the thrusters and HyperLight drive. Once in Hyperlight we experienced our first emergency. The engines overloaded (of course not my fault, I'm sure it was programmed into the mission). What was "way cool" was the Red Alert. The lights went red and then the explosion. Smoke filled the simulator. Now you are saying that is common but what is not common is Dave's use of the strobes. During the explosions, the strobes flash just for a second. It gives just the right effect without knowing they are strobe lights. It makes you feel like electrical sparks are flying without real electrical sparks. That is another innovation we will borrow from the Pathfinder. 

After the launch, we drank a toast to the ship using the "approved" bubbly. 

Dave has done a remarkable job with the Pathfinder. I'm anxious to book missions for our staff and volunteers. Yes, we will arrange flights for you. These will be reward flights so keep volunteering and passing off your stations. Your points tell your story so always check your 
points to see if Mr. Williamson is adding them correctly. ALSO KEEP THOSE GRADES UP. 


Mr. Williamson

Taken in July 2002

Post from the Past
The Magellan Mission Tora, Tora, Tora is Run for the First Time
April 17, 2001

I am happy to announce that Magellan's new private mission titled Tora! Tora! Tora! is officially up and running. It was run successfully tonight with a group that Mitch Comfort brought. The website will soon have a detailed briefing for both the Magellan and the Ranger so stay tuned.

Post from the Past
Volunteers (Voyagers and Pioneers) Reward Mission
April 21, 2001

Hello Troops,
This memo is to inform all of you Voyagers that have made 500 points or over that you will be invited to come to the Magellan and fly the new mission, "Tora, Tora, Tora" at no charge. Date: 
Saturday, April 28th from 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. Some of you are very close to the 500 pt mark. Remember, your Quarter 3 grades are due. You earn 50 points when you submit your grades. If you are within 50 pts of 500 and haven't gotten those grades into me do it now so you can make the mission.

Pioneers. 13 of you will be selected based on your points and seniority to come do the Tora Tora Tora mission on Saturday, May 5th from 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. again at no charge. You will be invited by email so watch your email this next week.

I'm looking for other ways to reward our outstanding volunteers that have accomplished so much for the Center. 

To you volunteers, keep earning those points and always check the database of this egroup to see if I'm recording your missions and points correctly.

Just an advance announcement. The Magellan, Odyssey, and Galileo will be hosting special 4-hour missions within the next month to reward our Blue Shirts, Voyagers, and Pioneers. These missions will be the trial runs of their new summer missions. The Voyager's trial run will be the special mission planned for our new Blue Shirts and Promoted Blue 
Shirts. Watch here for further announcements. 

Thank you troops for all you do. Please accept this cyber pat on the back from me. I'm honored that you have selected the Center to be a place where you spend some your precious free time. I enjoy seeing you when you arrive to do your missions. I enjoy talking to each of you and hearing your stories and comments. I hope you enjoy the Center as 
much as we enjoy you. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. 

All the Best!

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium

Rules Men Should Teach Boys