This post was written by David Andrus, a former Space Cadet and Volunteer at the Space Center (not to mention an all around good guy). Thank you David for taking the time to write another chapter in the Center's history.
And Now David's Post:
A call for old timers' posts? You sure you want to do that Vic? I'm one of the oldest of the old and I was hoping to save some of this for free private mission blackmail or something.
How about a recollection from my first ever trip to the space center? I think the trip was in 5th grade. That would have been either late 1990 or early 1991. The trip was organized by Fred Olson who was teaching at Sunset View Elementary in Provo at the time. I didn't know exactly what it was before I arrived at Central Elementary, just that it was some sort of space camp.
I remember first coming into the briefing room and sitting down at a desk. There was some sort of mission briefing by a guy who looked suspiciously like the current space center director...but there was just a little bit less of him and his hair was a different color (sorry Vic, I couldn't resist).
I sat there in the briefing room and looked around. The thing that really caught my attention was this rather strange door. It was lower than normal and there were some letters above it. I can't remember what they said now, but they were an abbreviation for something. I was completely clueless about what those letters meant and what was beyond that door, but boy did I ever want to know (and boy was I disappointed to learn the reason for the door being so short - there's a beam or something there that couldn't be moved to accommodate the Voyager).
I recall being taken on board the ship via the transporter on the stage, and then taking the scenic route through the control room on my way to the bridge. I took my station, which was in the same position as the current sensors station, at right wing. We handled propulsion, transporters, and a few other things I can't remember now. I also remember that all of our computers were identical and we had to click on our actions all at the same time.
Ah those old Mac classics were things of beauty. Slow, plodding, tiny black and white screens. But the technical limitations weren't important. The important part was how I was drawn into the story by feeling like I was a part of the action. We'd make a change to the ship's speed and the viewscreen and sound effects would change to reflect that we'd gone from sub-light to warp. We followed our captain's orders and actually managed to make it through without dying once.
I could go on and on about my various experiences at the space center. Maybe some day I'll collect all of my thoughts and send them on. But my continued ramblings will have to wait for another day as I'm sure I've exceeded even the attention span of our illustrious leader. Maybe I'll next regale you all with the story of how the illustrious Fish and I met and started a friendship that is now over 18 years strong.