Visit to learn more about the Space Education Centers in Utah. Visit and for information on joining a simulator based school space and science club.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Space Center's first Decade in Pictures. 1990-2000

Several of the staff and volunteers in the late 1990's visiting USU's Explorer Simulator built in the Engineering Building by Steve Wall. Do you know any of their names? How about a contest? Can you name everyone in this picture? Four Water Gardens Movie Tickets to the fist person to email a complete list of correct names.

Hello Troops,

And a very Merry Christmas to all!

Choosing to be the good son, I took my mother out this yesterday morning for a bit of last minute Christmas shopping. It's good to take one's elderly mother out for an airing occasionally. Getting her out of the house and shopping has a beneficial side effect - exercise. She spends hours a day playing Solitaire on her new iPad. That kind of inactivity at her age results in less blood flow to the extremities. Less blood flow to the extremities leads to a general loss of circulation. A loss of circulation leads to gangrene. Gangrene leads to noxious odors and amputation. Amputation leads to more inactivity, which continues the downwards spiral into the grave - all brought on by and iPad and an addiction to Solitaire.

Early morning Christmas Eve Shopping is perfect for people like me who put off their shopping until the last minute. WalMart was eerily empty at 7:30 A.M. I saw a few women, but mostly men. One man I overheard at the jewelery counter.

"I need something nice and quick. What do ya got?" The man looked like he'd just come off the graveyard shift at the steel mill. The sales assistant, who looked like she'd come over from the bakery department to help out, led him to a locked case where Walmart kept its good stuff ( Walmart's jewelry's selection starts with the plastic stuff in the claw machines near the entrances to 10K gold with diamond flakes and speckles in the locked cabinets).

It was good to get the shopping done and now its Christmas Day. Soon life will return to normal.

I rummaged through a box of old pictures yesterday after getting home from WalMart. In one old box of pictures I found the following photos of the Voyager and Odyssey taken between 1990 and 2000.

The left wing on the Voyager Bridge as it looked on the first day the Space Center opened for business in November 1990. The red stools were for the Wing Chiefs. This first incarnation of the Voyager didn't have enough stations for everyone, so one or two students sat on the stools and 'supervised' the others. They repeated the Captain's orders and made sure their 'wing' carried them out. I programmed the first Voyager in Hypercard. The controls were laughable by today's standards but they did the job and got us open.

Each Wing had its own set of controls on every computer assigned to that wing. For example, you see the left wing on the picture above.

"Warp 4," the Captain would order.
"Warp 4," the Wing Chief would repeat. All four persons on the left wing would have to push the warp 4 button within a second of each other for the ship to respond. It sounds corny today but somehow it worked back then.
"Everyone on warp 4?" the Chief would ask.
"Yes Sir," all four would reply when they were ready for the final command.
"One, Two Three, Push." On "Push" all four would click on the button marked "Warp 4" at the same time. Ah, those were the days.....

Once again, the Voyager on opening day. You're look at today's Damage Control. Behind Damage Control is today's Record's Station. On the left is today's Security Station. You see the Phototron sitting in today's "Bridge Sick Bay". Back then it was the Voyager's Science Station. Students did experiments in the Science Station during missions. The whole thing read great on paper, but didn't work in reality. The kids assigned to Science kept abandoning their station to see what was happening. They felt they were 'stuck' in the boring part of the ship while everyone else got to 'have fun' with the main story line.

I didn't have enough computers for every station (as seen by the lack of a computer at the Record's Station). I don't remember exactly what I had the students do at that station back then. Most like kept written records. Notice the little twirly toy on the wall where today's speaker sits? Back then the Speakers sat higher on the wall. The Voyager's original speakers are still in use today. You'll find them in the Galley and the Bridge Sick Bay.

The Voyager's original Captain's Station was down at today's Telephone and Long Range Communications Station. I changed that after the first few missions and moved the captain up to where he sits today. This photo was taken shortly after that move. The Voyager's original Captain's Chair can be seen in the photo above. The little box on the Captain's right was a Radio Shack home intercom system. It was the way we spoke to the Captain in those days.

This was how the Voyager's Control Room looked on opening day. We started with five or six staff to run a mission. Each had their own specific job. For example, the person who sat at the little red black and white TV looked for mission visual shots on the small library of visuals on the VCR tapes. I would tell that person what I needed for the story. He found the scene on the tapes, handed the correct tape to the person working the two VCRs. That person would insert the tape, cue the scene and have it ready to play when needed. It was very cumbersome.

Those were the days when I made up missions on the fly. Forget detailed scripts and pre made visuals. I was the only Flight Director. Needless to say the stress of running missions nearly drove me to drink! I was working 12 hour days back then (running field trips, then private mission every night to raise extra cash for the Center, then a full 24 hours on the weekend for the Overnight Camps). The Overnight Camps were rough on all of us. Back then they started at 5:00 P.M. Friday evenings. We fed them supper (Sound's Easy Pizza). We stopped for bed at Midnight. Everyone was up again the following morning at 6:30 A.M. The Overnight Camps ended at 11:00 A.M. All of that for $25.00 per person!

Did I bite off more than I could chew? Yep, which is why I'm insane today :)

Now we move ahead in time to the end of the 1990's. Notice the changes to the Bridge? The Federation Emblems are on the wall covering the Voyager's original artwork. Both the Telephone and Long Range Stations have computers. That's an incoming message printer behind the Telephone Station.

The Record's and Science Stations at the end of the 1990's. Notice the Science Room was redesigned and the Phototron moved.

You're looking at the Voyager's Engineering Station at the end of the 1990's (where today's Bridge Sick Bay is located). On the left is the isolinear chip station. On the right are the anti-matter cooling rods. The Engineer slid the cooling rods back and forth a set number of inches every time the ship changed speed.

The Captain's Station before the Voyage was remodeled in 2000. The Captain had a computer of his own. Notice back then the Captain sat at a desk. He could still move around if he wanted, but rarely did for field trips. The First Office did most of the running around back then.

A Field Trip's Captain and First Officer. 1999

Traveling at Warp Speed in the late 1990's. The Front of the Voyager.

The Voyager's Security Station in the late 1990's. Ah, the good ole days. Back then it was so easy for our Orion Pirates to shoot the two Security Guards from the loft. See how they were trapped by the desk. They had one way in and one way out (the opening to the right on the picture). They were forbidden to hop over the desk to make a quick escape. The Voyager's Security Guards quickly learned to keep one person on patrol while one worked both computers. Being the one stuck at the desk was the early Voyager's true expendable Red Shirt :)

Me at Flight Control. November 21, 1995.

The Voyager's Control Room, 1999. (above and below)

The Voyager's Last Day

This picture was taken the last day of July 2000. It was the last day of the last summer camp of 2000. The staff gathered for a toast to the Grand Old Lady. That very next day everything seen in the picture above was removed. The Voyager you see today was built starting August 1, 2000.
I truly miss this old Voyager. She was a wonderful ship to fly.

Cheers Voyager!

The Odyssey in its Early Days

Brothers Dave and Steve Wall designed and built the USS SEEKER (the Odyssey). they called it the SEEKER when it was first built. I referred to it as the ISES. They didn't like ISES and I didn't like SEEKER. We had a disagreement. After a year or so I decided we would scrap both names and renamed the ship "Odyssey". And the rest is history.

Dave Wall is pictured above all tangled up in VCR tape. He and his brother built the Odyssey. He was the Odyssey's first Flight and Set Director. Notice how the entrance to the ship has changed? It was a two door entrance. The outer door slid open. The inner hatch opened inwards.

Back then my office was called "The Briefing Room". We didn't have the Discovery Room so all mission briefings and classroom field trip teaching was done in the Briefing Room.

The Odyssey's mid section in the 1990's.

The Odyssey's Front in the 1990's.

The Space Center's history is well documented from 2000 on thanks to our YahooGroup and "The Troubadour". Little is written about the Center between 1990 and 2000. Please contact me if you have pictures or writings of the early Space Center. I'd like copies for our history.

Mr. Williamson
Post a Comment