Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Friday, June 29, 2012

News From the Center, And the Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
We are working our way through day 2 of this year's Leadership Camp.  Leadership Camp is for campers 15 to 17 years old.  There are 34 of them here this week.  This year's Leadership Camp is brought to you by the Center's older staff and volunteers, managed and directed by Megan Warner.  I'm on duty during Leadership Camp but stay out of the picture as much as possible.  This is the staff's responsibility.

Every year I ask the senior staff if they are interested in doing a Leadership Camp.  And for the past several years, they've stepped up to the challenge and sponsored the camp.  What happens if they don't?
There wouldn't be a Leadership Camp.  Again, this is something the staff and volunteers do for our older campers.  I'm busy enough keeping the normal camps running.

Megan is doing a fantastic job with this year's camp.  Granted, there is your usual madhouse behind the simulator walls as the staff and volunteers race back and forth setting up and taking down scenes etc.  But overall it goes remarkably well.  Congratulations to Megan and her awesome staff.

Chelsey Roberts in the Flight Director's Seat

The staff of the Phoenix simulator welcome Chelsey Roberts to their team as the newest Space Center Flight Director.  Chelsey has been training for several years to sit in the sacred Flight Director's chair.  Now her dream is a reality. 

This is James.  James is please to be one of Chelsey's first Second Chairs.  A Second Chair (or IIFX in the Voyager) is the right hand of the Flight Director.  You see James monitoring the crew through the closed circuit television monitors.  You also see a video preview monitor and a computer (behind his head) which monitors every computer station on the ship.

Congratulations Chelsey and welcome to the Space Center's Flight Director's Guild.

Side Note:
I'm listening to radio chatter between the simulators as the campers work through this mission.  It's not an easy flight.  Apparently two of the five ships were taken captive by the Dominion.  The crew's of the Galileo and Phoenix are currently being held in a Dominion prison camp.  They didn't get to eat lunch with the rest of the campers.  They were given sack lunches with NO cookie or string cheese.  You can't expect prisoners of war to be given cookies in their lunches, would you?

From the radio discussion, I'm assuming one or more of the other ships might be considering a rescue of their Starfleet comrades.  This daring rescue will not be easy.  The Dominion "Staff" are aware of their approach.  The camp is armed to the teeth.  There may be casualties  - there always are.

I suggest we brighten our day and leave the news from the Front for now.  Let's focus on few things from the Imaginarium.

Are these two Peacocks the same color?


Your eyes deceive you because of the background field.  There is a good lesson to learn here.  Are we guilty of passing judgement on others based solely on the background of a person, or are we willing to ignore the surroundings and focus completely on who that person is and what have they accomplished?  Do we judge on appearance or character?   

I remember attending a little league football game some years ago.  Our Pleasant Grove team was winning against a heavily favored team from Alpine.  The Alpine coach called a time out.  His team gathered around.  I strained to hear what he had to say to his 'favored' boys.

"Come on boys, we can't let these potato eaters from Pleasant Grove beat us, Can we?"

I live in Pleasant Grove and love potatoes with a passion, so guilty as charged.

His statement wasn't a compliment.  I understood that.   I knew exactly what the coach was saying.  Those of us who live in PG do so because we can't afford to live anywhere else.  I guess from his statement, we can't afford to eat meat either.  We must live on a diet of pure starch and water.

Our boys were being judge not on who they were and what they had  accomplished.  Our boys were being judged solely on their surroundings.

The Alpine Team lost.  I was tempted to find the coach's home and leave a ten pound bag of potatoes on his porch but didn't.  I couldn't afford the gas....  :)

Kingdom Wars

The Dark Knight stretched forth his armored hand to steady the young white knight.  The boy stood perilously close to the edge of a tower, a fall from which he could not recover.  The white knight held fast to the rod. One hand quivered against the cold metal; the other, missing - thanks to the Dark Knight's sword.

"Lucas, stretch forth thy hand.  Let the Purveyor of Death pass this day!" the Dark Knight pleaded.

"Never!" the boy shouted.  He glanced to the dusty road far below.

       And More from the Imaginarium....

True, very true. Once in awhile, step out of the corral and 
see what happens.  Don't worry, your comfort zone will always be
waiting.  What do you have to loose?  

Now THIS is where the Magic Happens!

And in closing, I'm passing along this Irish virus.
You're obliged to manually erase your hard drive.
Failure to do so could result in an unlucky visit from our little green fellow here.

Have a Great Weekend.

Mr. W. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Space History

50 Years Ago: X-15 speed record, MA-8 news

X-15 Number 1.

Fifty years ago the X-15 program was still in full swing as NASA research manned craft control in the upper thin atmosphere, and the fringes of space. On June 27, 1962 X-15 pilot Joe Walker flew X-15 number 1 to an altitude of 120,000 feet. While firing the rocket motor on his way to that altitude, he managed to fly the craft at Mach 6.09 (4159 mph) while he passed the altitude of 96,000 feet. After casually managing to make this new record speed, Walker continued with his planned tests of steep angle re-entry through the atmosphere.
X-15 pilot Joe Walker.

The height flown in the mission was not the highest. NASA announced on the same day that a previous mission on June 21 had reached the altitude of 247,000 feet. That flight was done by NASA pilot Robert White in X-15 number 3. As the X-15 program continued, new records were being set and great research completed.
Also on this day back in 1962, NASA made an announcement about the next Mercury manned mission. Designated MA-8, the plan was to have the Mercury craft piloted in at least three, and perhaps up to six orbits. The astronaut selected for this mission would be Navy Commander Walter M. Schirra, Jr.
Walter M. Schirra, Jr. "Wally"

Wally Schirra came from Hackensack, New Jersey, and was born into a family deeply involved in aviation. His father had earned his pilot wings during World War 1 in Canada. Both parents became "Barnstormers" between the world wars and entertained crowds with their amazing skills. His mother even did the "wing-walking" stunts! By the time he was 15, Wally could fly his father's plane.
Schirra (right) studies the MA-8 operation plan with Chris Kraft (left). Kraft would be the Mission Control Flight Director during the MA-8 mission.

NASA publicity picture of Walter Schirra in Mercury spacesuit. The suit cooling unit is attached. A model of the Mercury spacecraft and escape tower is posed to the right.

The backup pilot assigned to MA-8 was astronaut L. Gordon Cooper, a Major in the US Air Force. He had been a test pilot at Edwards AF Base testing the F-102 and F-106 jet combat aircraft.
L. Gordon Cooper. 

50 Years Ago: TIROS keeps hunting Hurricanes

TIROS Satellite

When someone asks you why we should spend money on the space program, start by telling them about TIROS. Fifty years ago, as our nation watched television breathlessly for the next manned space launches, the benefits of being able to launch satellites was paying off large dividends. On June 19 NASA launched the TIROS 5 satellite into orbit. The pictures coming from TIROS 4 had been degrading since the middle of June, and only some of its visual data was useful for forecasting. TIROS 5 was expected to relieve the aging TIROS 4 and start helping the nation prepare for the current hurricane season.
TIROS cloud cover map made from TIROS TV imaging.

On June 15, 1962, The US Weather Bureau informed the news agencies that they believed the formation of the first hurricane of the 1962 season would be detected by "one or all of its battery of ships, planes, radar and TIROS weather satellites." In 1961, TIROS 3 had spied hurricane Esther in the Atlantic Ocean just as it was forming. The total 1961 count of watching storms from space had been 5 hurricanes and 1 tropical storm in the Atlantic, and 11 hurricanes and typhoons plus 1 tropical storm in the Pacific. By tracking these storms from space better than storms had ever been tracked before, many lives were saved, property prepared for the storms, and ships at sea diverted.
Thor-Able 4th from left, to right side of Gemini-Titan. I took this picture of NASA's Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center Rocket Park on my last trip.

TIROS 5 was sent into space on the Thor-Able rocket from pad LC-17A just as TIROS 4 began experiencing failures. Unfortunately the launch placed the satellite into an elliptical orbit instead of a circular one; nevertheless the pictures from TIROS 5 were excellent at first. TIROS 5 would continue to work for 161 days.
When you consider all the hurricanes and ocean storms that have occurred over the last 50 years, that were tracked and watched from these remote stations in outer space, you begin to realize just how much damage and loss of life could have hit our nation without them. Think also of all the weather forecasting that has increased crop production as well as saved them and you begin to see the enormity of what the space weather satellites have achieved.
By Mark Daymont
Space Center Educator

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Survey Results. OV5 and ED3

 Hello Troops,
The survey results are in for the 5th Overnight Camp of the 2012 Summer Camp Season:

Overall Score:
Odyssey:  1.08
Magellan:  1.09
Galileo:  1.07
Voyager:  1.11
Phoenix:  1.00

Satisfaction Index:  9.51

Congratulations Miranda and her Phoenix staff for taking high score on the 5th Overnight Camp of the season.  Congratulations to Josh A. for taking Lord of the Votes and Jackie for SubLord of the Votes.

 Hello Troops,
The survey results are in for the third EdVenture Camp of the 2012 Summer Camp Season:

Overall Score:

Voyager:  1.15
Galileo:  1.15
Phoenix:  1.20
Odyssey:  1.24
Magellan:  1.40
Class:  1.57
Coming Back:  1.02
Satisfaction Index:  8.93

Lagoon:  1.07
Movies:  1.07
Mall:  1.05
Waterpark:  1.12

Lord of the Votes:  Bradyn Lystrup:  1285
SubLord of the Votes:  Jace N:  390

The Voyager and Galileo both have scores of 1.15.  The ship with the larger crew breaks the tie.  That gives the victory to the Voyager with a crew of 11 over the Galileo's crew of 6.  Congratulations to the Voyager and their new summer story:
"Much Ado about Horace".

Mr. W.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Sabbath Birthday Year. Don't Expect Much from Me. Be Warned!

Hello Troops,
I start this post by thanking everyone for the many kind birthday wishes and expressions of hope that I'll make it to 55.  My staff and volunteers at the Space Education Center were the first to remind me with cake, cookies and a nearly tone deaf song that another year has been added to the staggering digit used to describe the number of revolutions I've spent circling our sun on this blue marble in space. There were other messages of sympathy sent by my friends in the National Sarcastic Society.   Yea, like I need them too.....

My birthday fell on Sunday this year.  I call birthdays which land on Sundays my Sabbath Birthdays.  When you birthday falls on a Sunday you should proclaim to your friends, family and business associates that you are officially in your Sabbath Birthday year.  They should regarded you as "resting".

 Here are my plans for my Sabbath Birthday Year of Rest:

  • I'm considering changing my shaving routine from daily to weekly.  I think I'll do the same for showering, deodorizing, and brushing my teeth.
  • On your Sabbath Birthday it is totally permissible to wash clothes monthly.  No one will object to the smells if they understand it is your Sabbath Birthday Year.
  • I won't wash my car during this special year of rest.
  • I'll show up for work right when I'm suppose to and clock out a few minutes before I'm suppose to leave.  Employers are typically more tolerate of laziness during your Sabbath Birthday Year.  I have the Department of Labor's toll free phone on speed dial if my administrator gives me any guff.
  • I'll exert less.
  • I'll eat more.
  • Exercising is limited during your Sabbath Birthday Year.  Running, jogging, swimming, bicycling, etc. are all to be avoided.  How can you honor your year of rest if your heart is beating excessively and your sweat glands are sweating?   Elbow and hand exercises are allowed as you reach for food, scoop up food and deliver food into your mouth.
I'm in negotiations with our local Gas Station / Convienience Marts on the issuing of special Sabbath Birthday Year Cards entitling you to half price 32 or 44 ounce Gut Buster Sodas delivered to you as you fill your car.   I'm also preparing a letter to National Council of Churches seeking a special dispensation for all Sabbath Birthday Celebrants giving them one year off from all religious obligations.

Its a far shot, but I'm asking for an appointment with my United States Senator.  I  hope to persuade him to join my crusade by sponsoring a bill giving all Sabbath Birthday Celebrants one year off from Federal taxes.

To summarize, this is my Sabbath Birthday Year.  Expect nothing from me of consequence until June 24, 2013.

Thank you for understanding.

Mr. Williamson

And Now, to start my Year of Rest, I give you PICTURES with little commentary, as one would expect from a member of the Sabbath Birthday Congregation.         

 Megan Left.  Chelsea Right.  Shirt - Flight Directors.  Chelsea celebrates.  She fly Phoenix.  
Big Celebration.  Smiling not uncommon.  Chelsea work hard for this.  

Devin Left.  Bronson Right.  Bronson get Odyssey Pass.  He happy. Devin confused.  Can't remember Bronson's name.  Kept calling him "Yo Dude".   Bronson not happy.  Responds with
"Yo Rude!"

Devin left.  Nolan Right.  Nolan get Odyssey Pin.  "Yo Dude," Devin say.  Nolan confused. 
"Its Nolan," Nolan say.
"Chill," Devin respond.

Jon Left.  Joseph Right.  Joseph get Voyager Pin. Work hard for it.  Jon proud.  Joseph prouder.

Mr. Williamson left.  Allie right.  Allie get One Year Pin.  Allie tired.  Say, "Overworked and Underpaid!".
Everyone agree.  Throw shoes at Mr. Williamson.  Mr. Williamson run for library and lock door.  He come out someday.

And From the Imaginarium.  At the Imaginarium we celebrate the creations of Human Imagination.

Yes, I want!

I question everything I know because I can't remember anymore where I learned it.

Your Steam Punked Computer.  Tell me you wouldn't want one of these on your desk.

I didn't believe them when I was your age either. 
Go on, keep thinking everyone has your best interests at heart...... :) 

 My kind of Synagogue.

The Hobbits, playing in a town near you!

Descriptive Word Art found only at the Imaginarium...

The coolest Pens every created.   How could you ever go back to your Bic?

Star Wars University.

And from the Creepy Magazine Ads of Yesteryear......
Frankly, I may be mistaken, but I'd swear we've had these people's children at Camp this year....

What is this kid thinking?   Who enjoys their Orange Juice this much?

He shot his eye out, his mother's eye, his father's eye and his pastor's eye before the police arrived.
 We get the same look on the faces of our campers when we had them our toy phasers and say "Aliens".

I don't think I'd sleep well at night if she were in my home.  I'd keep a cross above the bed and wear garlic.  It wouldn't hurt to keep a wooden stake and hammer next to the bed - just in case.  I think we had her daughter at the Magellan Engineering Station two months ago.   

Ginger,      Of course.  That explains it  :)
"Gee mom, mushy spaghetti dumped on my plate for Sunday Dinner.  I couldn't think of anything I would rather have.  We love you mom!"

Yep, she's a meat eater.  I don't see a vegan lifestyle in her future, do you?

"I'll be eatin these here beans then I'll be a waitin cause we all know what's a comin after I eat these here beans." 

Is it me, or is she looking longingly at the sandwich or her mother's fingers?  Cannibalism has been known to spring up even the best of families.

Have a Great Week Troops!
Mr. W.