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

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center Staff are Introduced to the Planetarium in a Brilliantly Executed Socially Distanced and Masked Way. What an Example to the Rest of Utah. See the Cassini's New Uniforms. Imaginarium Theater.

       Saturday witnessed a gathering of Space EdVenturers at the new Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove.  The executive level meeting was called by James Porter, director of the CMSC.  After months of construction it was time to show the results to the staff for their enthusiastic approval.  A second more important reason was to excite the troops and prepare them to return to work.  Many came in person, while others preferred to participate from a distance via Google Meet.  

     We met in the planetarium's lobby.  Audrey Henriksen brought one of the Cassini's new crew uniforms for Lorraine Houston's official inspection.  Audrey has assumed Lorraine's position as official outfitter of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  

     Lorraine was impressed with Audrey's skills as a seamstress.  The uniform was given her official stamp of approval.  


     "Not so fast,"  Jon Parker had arrived and observed the proceedings from a distance.  "Let me see that uniform."  He stepped forward, took the uniform and gave it a good looking over.  He was careful to examine the stitching.  He pulled, prodded, poked, and teased the material looking for a potential flaw a youngling would be sure to discover and exploit.  After a moment or two he delivered his verdict.  "Very good Audrey.  This will do the Cassini proud."
     

     And with that said I took the picture.  You can't see the smiles hidden beneath the fabric, but I can assure you they were there .   

 

     I heard someone clearing his throat.  I turned and found myself in the presence of the Space Center's resident Time Lord Mason Perry. Mason stood next to Jordan Smith, Phoenix Set Director.  Both will be responsible for the new Phoenix, risen from the ashes of the old.  It's obvious they wanted to make a statement at this gathering of Space EdVenturers.  The masks gave them away.  Both Mason and Jordan couldn't let the Cassini have its moment in the spotlight with Audrey's new uniforms. No, they had to try to steal the show with their simulator's official masks. I want to assure them their message was received and understood by Jon.  A little inter-ship rivalry never hurt anyone.   



     Speaking of masks, this one stood out far above the rest. Kudos to this masked man for his excellent choice of face covering.  My offer to trade fell upon deaf ears.  Obviously he didn't know who I was behind my plain black mask or perhaps I looked like reheated Covid - something he didn't want to risk. 



     One of the highlights of the meeting was the distribution of new staff shirts.  There were two for yours truly in that bundle. 
Yes, you'll see me scooting about the new Space Center on weekends looking for ways to get into trouble.  I think James Porter has a shock collar tucked away somewhere for me. A momentary shock will be all I need to keep me in line when I become too much of a distraction or a bother.  



     We met in the planetarium where social distancing was strictly enforced.  
 


     Mr. Porter was up in the Crow's Nest working to project the online attendees onto the planetarium's large dome.  I stood by waiting to offer advice. Thankfully that advice wasn't requested because I hadn't a clue what he was doing, I just liked to think I did.  It is always important to look like you know what you're doing even if you don't.    



     Success!  The onliners came to life on the dome.  


      Conner Larsen hovered menacingly over Mr. Porter giving all present a shudder of 1984, Big Brother is Watching.  


     It was difficult to read Conner's many expressions during Mr. Porter's speech, but a fair warning may be in order for Mr. Porter to watch his back. Hostile takeovers are not unknown outside the corporate world. 
     All kidding aside, it was a great meeting.  James updated us on construction.  The planetarium will open first in November.  The simulators will follow once it is deemed safe to do so based on the health departments recommendations and Utah County's High covid alert level.  It is easy to socially distance people in the planetarium, not so easy in the simulators. 
     On a more personal note, it was thrilling to see the new Center prepare to open.  Everyone starting with James Porter and moving up throughout District administration have done a great job. The new Christa McAuliffe Space Center is truly a gem in the Alpine District's crown of achievements. 

Mr.Williamson

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

Sunday, October 11, 2020

See the Latest Pictures from the New Space Center Simulators. Awesome is the Only Word for Them. From the Archives. Ten Years Ago. Meet Admiral Schuler - the Terror of the Overnight Camps and Quiet Before Bed on the Overnight Camp. Also, the Imaginarium Theater. Enjoy.

The Latest Pictures of the CMSC 

The Galileo

Name to Be Announced Simulator


The Odyssey



The Starbase Hallways


The Phoenix


The Cassini


The Magellan


The Planetarium Level with Stairway to Starbase

A Sign on the Baseball Backstop Reminding Everyone that the Christa McAuliffe Space Center is About to Open.


TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2010

Pictures of the Old Space Center.

Hello Troops,
     You're stepping in the Space Center's Way Back Machine to see the Space Center shortly after its opening in November 1990. The photographs are courtesy of Connor Paulson. He found them somewhere online. I'm thinking www.prehistoricschools.org. I'll do my best to describe what you're seeing. I'm sure you'll marvel at how far we've come over the last twenty years.



     In 1990 the Space Center consisted of the Voyager simulator and the Briefing Room (where the Odyssey and Phoenix are today). In the photograph above you see Mr. Bill Schuler teaching a lesson on Space History. Bill is wearing a Star Trek uniform. During our early camps, Bill played Admiral Schuler. Every Overnight Camp started with Adm. Schuler's inspection of the Voyager. He'd walk up the spiral stairway to inspect the crew and the cleanliness of the ship. The crew would be smartly at attention. The Admiral scrutinized the carpet, looking for the slightest molecule of dust or grime. If found, he'd go into a rant.
     "Captain. Look at this!" he'd say while pointing to a spec of something or another on the carpet. Of course the captain had to strain to see what the Admiral was talking about - which made it even funnier for those of us in the Control Room watching on the camera. "Captain, I could have tripped over that. Did you want me to trip over that pile of trash?"
     Bill's exaggeration of the size of the spec of dust always caused one of the campers to chuckle. Oh, foolish child, that is exactly what the Admiral wanted. Bill worked the crew until someone laughed of snorted or made any sound he could latch onto like a bird on a power line.
     The Admiral's unique homing device drew him straight to the disrespectful camper. The Admiral stood toe to toe with the the camper - bent at the waist so his nose was inches from the campers. "Did I say something amusing cadet?" he'd sneer. Bill exaggerated the movements of his mouth so droplet's of spittle would land on the camper's face.
     "Captain, this ship is a disgrace to the fleet. You're not certified to take it out of Space Dock. Get it cleaned up and get your crew in order. I'll return shortly." 
     The Admiral walked off the bridge and down the spiral stairs. The campers always broke into laughter when they were sure he was out of earshot. That was my cue to enter the bridge and help them with the detailed cleaning. We'd also discuss the importance of staying in character - even during a grueling interrogation from the Admiral.
     The Admiral would once again make his appearance and do his best to get someone out of character. This continued until the crew made it through without cracking. It took several tries, which ate up a lot of time, but well worth it. Besides, in those days overnight camps started at 5:00 P.M. and ended at 11:00 A.M. They included a pizza supper believe it or not. We had extra time to kill. In those days the missions ended for bed at midnight instead of 11:00 P.M. as they do now. They also cost $25.00 per person. Times have changed.......
     In those days we only had the Voyager so half the overnight crew would be in the ship doing the mission while the other half attending classes. They'd rotate every hour or so.
     Notice the big screen TV. Notice the bunks behind the TV? The Phoenix sits there today. Those bunks were reserved for the staff.
     Notice the Staff Bulletin Board. Notice there about 15 places for pictures? That was the size of our staff in those days. All of them were volunteers. The most senior volunteers received a $5.00 gift card for working an overnight camp. It's because of this early volunteer staff the Center was able to save enough money to build and outfit the Odyssey (along with a $25,000 donation from US West).
    
Enjoy,
Mr. Williamson


FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

And Now, Nearly Bedtime


     Another week gone. It's 11:37 P.M. and the campers are preparing for bed. I've got a few moments of peace and nearly quiet while Jon and Alex do battle in the Voyager. My shoes prop open the Briefing Room door leading to the school's hallway. AHHH, my toes are free to roam the wilderness of odds, ends and junk inhabiting the under areas of my desk.
     We've had a great week at the Center. Secondary school's made up most of the field trips. I told a few Perikoi's, a couple of Cry from the Dark's and, my favorite for the week, three or four Midnight Rescues.
     Bracken Funk finished the new tactical cards for the mission from his dorm room at Fresno State and sent them via the internet. I was so impressed with his work I went ahead and told the mission without knowing them properly. It was hit and miss but Jon was on hand to help. Lorraine was at video so I didn't need to focus on that.
     Bracken's new cards do an excellent job bringing suspense and anticipation to the crew. These emotions springboard into the screams and shouts from which we flight directors feed. Great Job Bracken!
     Strangely quiet in the Voyager right now. Jon may be telling stories in the Crew Quarters. His stories are always a favorite with our campers.
     The junior high staff are in the Odyssey. The girls are tucked away in the gym under the ever watchful eye of Mrs. Houston and Metta. The high school boys are talking in the Discovery. They have their computers open and ipods playing. They can't live when unconnected from the matrix. What have we become.

And now its 11:51 P.M.

     Best go to bed. I'll need to get up earlier than usual tomorrow to make the donut run to WalMart.
     I just checked the school's front door. We're locked and secure. Pleasant Grove sleeps quietly at the foot of Mt. Timpanogoes, reminding me its time to pull out my pad, blanket and pillow and spend another night on the floor in front of my desk, ever vigilant - or at least until blessed unconsciousness steals me away :)

Goodnight....

Imaginarium Theater

The Best Videos from Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience


Imaginarium Theater October 11, 2020 from SpaceCampUtah's Imaginarium on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

News from Renaissance Space Academy. When Will It Open? A Cool Space Mural at the CMSC. From the Archives: See a Video Star Trek Fan Episode Shot on the First USS Voyager and See a Younger Me Give a Tour of the Center. More Awards? Will it Ever Stop? Imaginarium Theater.


The Space Academy at Renaissance Academy is closed, thank you Covid :(  However, that is not a permanent situation.  Megan Warner has been in on Saturdays working to bring the Voyager back into working order after a long summer of disuse and school construction.  Once the Voyager is back in working order and space worthy, my staff and I will meet with Renaissance administration to outline a "Back to Space" timeline.  We hope to have the Voyager open for private missions sometime this Fall.

The after school Young Astronaut Program at Renaissance may have to wait a bit longer due to the split schedule the school is working under.  More news will be posted here on The Troubadour once it is available.



The Space Academy's InfiniD mission program may resume this Fall.  I'm working with Casey and Skyler on bringing the mobile simulator to our classrooms.  The mobile unit consists of a easily portable lighting and speaker system set up in the center of a classroom.  That unit, along with a set of chromebooks, will allow us to fly InfiniD missions for Renaissance Academy's in school daytime students.  Will wonders never cease!     

Mr. Williamson 

 

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center Planetarium is Wrapped in Space. 











A cool space mural wraps around the outer wall of the planetarium providing a nice backdrop to the planets in the main lobby of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.


From the Archives.  Ten Years Ago

See a short film shot on the original USS Voyager by a group from Weber University. We sure miss that simulator. It was the best.

September 2010

Here we have a short film made by J&j Productions and the AAT Team of Weber University. It was a smash hit at the award ceremony. Check it out.



In that same post was this video clip showing me giving a representative from UEN a tour of the Space Center.  



THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2010

What? More Awards? When will it Ever Stop?

OK Troops,
     It's time to pause from the drudgery of your day to day routine and pay some attention to a few awesome Space Center volunteers that recently received honors during the After Meeting on the last few Overnight Camps.


     Ahem, we'll get started once we can have everyone's attention. Jacqueline Wallace, Rachel Harken we're waiting on you two. Please find a seat.
     Rachel doesn't do Facebook or My Space or any of the other Your Business is My Business social web sites. She believes the best way to find out what her friends are doing is talk to them, face to face.
     
Jacqueline, on the other hand, prefers to keep things at a distance and doesn't like being forced into a verbal conversation covering a week's worth of news from someone that doesn't post or tweet.  "So much talk talk. It's so medieval," she was overheard saying while rummaging through the fruit on the glass display case after the camp.
     Rachel had 
Jacqueline trapped in conversation. 
Jacqueline may look at ease in the photo, but if you look closely at her right hand you'll see she isn't. She's digging her fingernail into her thumb, hoping to draw blood - thus giving her a reason to excuse herself to tend to the unexplained wound.


     OK, it looks like Rachel is letting Jacqueline out of the conversation with a traditional Harken Back Woods Hand Shake. It's the way all the Arkansas Harkens end their visiting. With the hand shake comes an invitation to "come on over for vittles and sweet cider when the meetin is done."
(Actually, I may have this all wrong. It might be that 
Jacqueline is getting her Galileo Pin from Rachel. Yep that's what it is. My bad...)


     Today we celebrate the fact that Connor Larsen is still a member of the Club of the Living after the near fatal puncture of a Phoenix Pin into his neck by Phoenix Set Director Alex Anderson.
     Alex is a member of the "Children should be seen and not heard" group . Actually, Alex takes their motto one step further and believes that children should not be seen OR heard, but considering the business we're in, he's had to adapt - and it hasn't been easy. It's taken a few years but I've gotten Alex to the point where he tolerates our campers and actually does a good job convincing them that he cares. He says he's living a lie every time he smiles at anyone younger than 15 but, in the interest of a pay check, his smile has become believable, although his voice sounds strained when he has to comfort a frightened small human.
     You've heard in your science classes that for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction. It is true. Every time Alex forces himself into being agreeable with our customers, someone or something must be the recipient of the 'Reaction'. Today that someone was Connor.
    The picture above was taken just before the Phoenix's pin penetrated one of the arteries feeding blood into Connor's brain. Luckily we had several EMT's on our staff that sprang into action and saved his life.
     (Actually, I may have this all wrong. It might be that Alex gave Connor his Phoenix pin, shook his hand, walked over to the hand sanitizer, applied two squirts, deloused his hands, and sat down. Yes, I think that's how it went. Sorry.).


     Christine Grosland comforted Eric Babb as she awarded his Odyssey Pin. He was visibly moved by the event and covered Christine's hand with tears and other drippings. Christine was a champ and hid her stomach's retching from the watching staff. Eric pulled himself together by the end of the ceremony and asked to say a few words. Forty minutes later, we moved along to the other business of the day.
Actually I think I have this all wrong as well. My reporting of Space Center news is all messed up. I seem to be exaggerating a few facts (My inability to stay true to the facts is my one true weakness I'm told). Perhaps I should appoint reporters that will get the news right. What do you think?
     Thanks Troops for all your Hard Work. Our volunteers are the best in the State and I'll challenge anyone that disagrees.
     Enjoy your supper and the rest of the evening. I'm leaving the Space Center now and heading home. Dave Daymont is running a Phoenix mission. Stacy Carrell is doing the same in the Galileo, and Zac Hirschi is in full swing in the Magellan. It's all go at the Space Center at 6:08 P.M. on Thursday, September 23.

Mr. Williamson


Imaginarium Theater

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

Imaginarium Theater October 4, 2020 from SpaceCampUtah's Imaginarium on Vimeo.