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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Photos from the Staff Board Early 2000's, Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center History. Do You Recognize These Faces? Historical Post: March 4, 2001. The Role We Play at the Space Center. Theater Imaginarium.

Hello Troops,
     I've come across a large collection of Space Center photographs hidden away for over a decade in the bottom of a large plastic storage container.  The photographs will be posted a few at a time for the next several weeks for everyone to enjoy. 
     Today we start with photographs taken from the original STAFF bulletin board at the front of the Briefing Room.  The Staff Board sat next to the 45 inch Hitachi rear view projection TV balanced precariously at an angle on its stand near the staff bunks. 

The Briefing Room as it appeared in the mid-1990's.  I'm taking the picture where today's Odyssey Control Room is located.  Mr. Harward is standing in the classroom doorway.  My desk was at the back of the room in those days.  This was before the staff bunks, located where the walk-in coat and student cubbies are in the photo above. The Phoenix sits there today.  

The STAFF board had pictures of the senior staff and volunteers.  

The first staff board

     Today's photos hung on the STAFF board in the early 2000's. I'm guessing 2001-2002.  
The volunteers were predominantly male in those days. For every female volunteer application, I'd get ten male. Things have changed over the last 17 years. A visit to any of the local space education centers will find a better parity.  This is a good thing. Many of our best flight directors and supervisors over the last couple decades were and are female.    

Alan Johnson and Quinten Smith (Metta's brother)

Sam Robins and Dustin Robinson

Ben Hoglund and Bryson Lystrup

Clint and Rick Cowdell (Brothers)

Stephen Porter and Tanner Edwards

You old timers; what interesting stories are you willing to share about the people highlighted today?

Most of my memories come from working with them on the overnight and summer space camps. All ten of these young men were good, hardworking volunteers and supervisors who had the simulators in their blood.  Today they are in their mid 20's to mid 30's.  Many have families of their own.  The one thing they have in common is the time spent at that wonderful place, our home away from home, the Space Center.

Mr. Williamson

P.S.  Many more photos to follow.  Keep your eye on The Troubadour.   

Blast from the Past. A Post from the Space Center's Historical Blog Archives.

We Are All the Foundation of the Space Center. The Role of the Pioneer and Voyager Volunteers. The Blue Shirts and Green Shirts and Their Responsibilities.

March 4, 2001

Hello Troops,
Perhaps too much attention has been given to the promotion of new Blue Shirts. We congratulate the new Blue Shirts but let no one doubt the importance of all levels of volunteers at the Center. Let's look at them for a minute:


Our Pioneers man most of our after school and Saturday missions. These missions are a vital part of the Center's income and provide a large part of the weekly operating budget. The private missions provide the necessary money to underwrite the daytime field trip programs for schools. The $3.25 per student we charge daily is not enough to cover the cost of the program. The extra $$ needed comes from the private programs. Thanks, Pioneers! Your volunteer efforts open the door to the Space Center to nearly 400 people per week.

Our Voyagers man most of our overnight and summer camps in addition to several of the after school missions. These great volunteers play a vital part in the expansion of the Center. The money the Center makes on overnight and summer camps is used to maintain the Center, repair broken equipment, and enlarge and improve the simulators. Our ever-improving Center is thanks to the dedication of the Voyagers. Without them, our programs and simulators wouldn't be anything like they are today.

Blue Shirts: 

Our Blue Shirts are given small gratuities in the form of gift certificates but don't think this is pay. It is a small thank you for a long period of service and dedication to the Center. Blue Shirts are still volunteers and give a great deal of service to the Center. Blue Shirts provide consistency and quality to our missions. 
Our Blue Shirts are trusted to be in charge of the missions for the Flight Directors and to ensure the quality of the flight on the bridge and in the second chair positions. They are also directly in charge of proper training of our Voyagers and Pioneers. A Flight Director knows the value of good Blue Shirts (Staff). Good Blue Shirts are in demand.  Flight Directors will come to me requesting certain Blue Shirts. The Green Shirts know their successes and failures are tied to the work of the Blue Shirt in the simulator.

Green Shirts: 

Our Green Shirts are our hourly paid employees. They are our Flight Directors, Teachers, and Staff Supervisors. The Green Shirts answer to me. I hold them responsible for their simulators and maintainance, classrooms, and lessons. They are responsible to write their own missions and put them together, our teachers prepare their own curriculum. If a ship or classroom has problems they are the ones that are in the hot seat. They feel the pressure and work hard to succeed. Please don't doubt this fact. The Green Shirts work many more hours than they are paid. They set the example for all of our volunteers. Please look at the Staff Volunteer Database if you want to see an example of the volunteer effort our Green Shirts put in (it is not complete - I'm still getting an idea of the volunteer hours of many of the Green Shirts). 

The Green Shirts are under a lot of pressure. This is live theater. The show must go on. Sometimes our Green Shirts get a bit testy. Please understand and cut them some slack. If they yell and snap remember what they are doing and realize they are completely focused on our customers, students, and the quality of their presentation. If the show isn't good our patrons will not come back. Support the Green Shirts and remember, if I put you down as one of their workers then they are your boss for that flight. Do what they say. Only I or Mr. Daymont can override the orders of the Green Shirt I assigned you to work with. 

Mr. Williamson 

Well, you know what I do. I start work every day at 8:00 A.M. and usually get home after 9:00 P.M. in the evening. I believe in volunteerism. I hope you see my example in the volunteering effort. I'm paid for only the flights I do. The extra work from 3:30 P.M. to 8:00 or 9:00 P.M. is all volunteer. I practice what I preach. I 
volunteer alongside our super Pioneers, Voyagers, Blue Shirts, and Green Shirts. 

We are all a vital part of the Center. All of us no matter which level we work on. Without any one of us, the Center will not be what it is or service the number of people we serve each week. 

Thanks to all!
Your efforts are noticed and appreciated.

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Odyssey, Galileo, and Falcon Starship Logos That Never Made it. Salute the Cassini Saturn Probe. It Ventures Into that Last Goodnight on Friday. The Imaginarium.

Hello Troops,
     I have some Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center trivia for you this afternoon.  
Many of you are familiar with the CMSEC's simulator pins currently available for purchase at the Space Center. But did you know that during the Space Center's Voyager Age (1990 - 2012) the simulator logo pins were awarded to volunteers and staff for passing that simulator's bridge and second chair positions (except the Galileo of course. It didn't have a bridge pass).  I was strict on pin enforcement. Sure, anyone could buy a simulator pin, but the privilege of wearing the pin on your ID Lanyard while at the Space Center was forbidden without that ship's bridge and second chair pass. 
     I asked Dave Daymont to put forward simulator logo designs for review and comment.  The Odyssey, Magellan, Galileo, and Phoenix Set Directors had a say in the final decisions. Some of Dave's designs went through on first glance (Voyager, Phoenix) while others went through a few changes before the Set Directors gave the green light. 
     Here are the simulator logo designs that didn't survive the vetting process.

This was Dave's first Odyssey logo.  It carried the name of the ship in both English and Greek. The lines in the background represented the many missions the simulator had done and had yet to do.  The date was the Odyssey's launch year.  

The Galileo had two rejections.  The number 5 represented the number on the side of the simulator

And Finally, the logo and pin that was never produced - The Falcon.  The Falcon was our second cafeteria ship and used only on the overnight camps.  The Galileo occupied the west side of Central Elementary's cafeteria. The Falcon ran on the eastern side. The Falcon was inside one of our Starlab Planetarium inflatable star domes.  

The Falcon's Logo - the pin that never was.

The Falcon and Crew on an Overnight Camp. Bill Schuler Flight Director

Mark Daymont Flight Directing the Falcon on another Overnight Camp

Another brave Falcon overnight crew.

The Falcon even had volunteers for the Overnight Camps. Spencer Dauwalder and Taylor Herring

Salute the Cassini Saturn Probe. It Ventures Into that Last Goodnight on Friday

     What would it look like to approach Saturn in a spaceship? One doesn't have to just imagine -- the Cassini spacecraft did just this in 2004, recording thousands of images along the way, and hundreds of thousands more since entering orbit. Some of Cassini's early images have been digitally tweaked, cropped, and compiled into the featured inspiring video which is part of a larger developing IMAX movie project named In Saturn's Rings
     In the concluding sequence, Saturn looms increasingly large on approach as cloudy Titan swoops below. With Saturn whirling around in the background, Cassini is next depicted flying over Mimas, with large Herschel Crater clearly visible. Saturn's majestic rings then take over the show as Cassini crosses Saturn's thin ring plane. Dark shadows of the ring appear on Saturn itself
     Finally, the enigmatic ice-geyser moon Enceladus appears in the distance and then is approached just as the video clip ends. 
     The Cassini spacecraft itself, low on fuel, is scheduled to end on Friday when it will be directed to approach so close to Saturn that it falls in and melts.

The Imaginarium