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

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Today's Space Center Update. The Countdown to February 11 is Underway. News from our Sister Center in Pennsylvania. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
I just came back from the Space Center a happier person than I was before.  Dave Daymont, Megan Warner, Matt Ricks, Jon Parker, Zac Hirshci, and Connor Larson were there getting the Magellan, Phoenix and Galileo ready for our opening day on February 11.  Think of what your bedroom looked like at it very worst, multiply that by 10 and now you understand what these six brave souls are up against.  All will soon be put in order thanks to our outstanding staff and volunteers, several of whom are there working right now for NO pay.  That is the spirit of the Space Center.  You can't kill it even after being closed for six months!

The staff and volunteer's To Do List.


  • Label all the wiring in the control room, then remove all the control room equipment so electricians and workman can install walls.  
  • Redo the prerecorded training on the stations taking longer than 20 minutes to train.   Normally crews need 40 minutes to learn to fly the Magellan.  We don't have 40 minutes.  Our field trip crews must be trained and ready to fly in 30.  We need to find a way to cut 10 minutes from our training time.  Zac will work on that.  Nobody knows the controls and the training better than Zac, who returns as the Magellan Set Director.  
  • Electricians will install dimming ballasts for the white lights next week.
  • Electricians will install several new red alert lights in the Magellan next week.
  • We need to adapt the Voyager's Intolerance mission for the Magellan.  It's the only mission we can tell in that ship in one hour flight time.   
  • We need to get the Discovery cleaned up.
  • We need to get the Intolerance tacticals and video ready for the Magellan.   The Magellan looks like a StarGate ship and the Intolerance material we have shows a Galaxy class Starship.  Yep, a problem.  

  • Dave and Megan are putting the Phoenix's equipment in the ship so it can be started up to see if everything works.  The electricians will be in tomorrow to finish the Phoenix's to do list.  
  • The Phoenix's red lights do not turn on.  Another item on the large To Do List.  
  • The Phoenix needs a serious deep clean.  


  • The Galileo needs plastic rivets to hang its interior walls.  
  • The Galileo's main entrance needs to be re engineered.  The main hatch could fall open if the ship's is unplugged for several days and looses air pressure in the pneumatic system.   

We have a lot to do in a short amount of time.  I'm confident it is possible with the support we are getting from the Alpine District Maintenance Department and our outstanding staff and volunteers.

Mr. Williamson

News from our Sister Space Center (Dream Flight Adventures) in Pennsylvania.  

This information comes to us from Dream Flight Adventure's Founder and Genius, Gary Gardiner.

Mission Highlight: Succession

SuccessionRiddle me this:  How can one teach about comparative politics andradioactive decay at the same time?  How can one illustrate the checks and balances in government while simultaneously teaching about space exploration?  What about marine biology and nuclear isotopes?

The answer, my friend, is Succession.

Succession was the first Dream Flight Adventure™ mission, and it does a beautiful job at illustrating the unique way we blend STEM concepts, history, and crucial social issues.  It’s a mix that you can’t find anywhere else, and the concepts we address in our missions stick with students for years.
Succession throws students into the middle of a crisis where several opposing views are vying for control of a world government.  Students must learn about each side’s point of view, evaluate their positions, and decide what to do in order to save the world from civil war.  And, as always, the clock is ticking, so the students must use their whole brains and every ounce of creativity they can muster to accomplish their mission.
Learn more about Succession and our other missions.
Construction Update

There’s been a lot going on lately, and it’s been a while since we gave you a solid update about the construction of the IKS Titan.  We’re in the final stretch now, with only one section of flooring and a few minor odds and ends remaining to be installed.  Bob Gasowski, our resident miracle worker, has done an amazing job.  I’m excited to show off his handiwork:
Security Guard Station
This is the Security Guard station on the mid-level tier.  The flooring on this level will be installed this week.  Notice the amazing desktops, with the seamless black formica flowing directly to the edge of the iPads.  Also notice the metal rivet details in the far wall.  This is all Bob’s handiwork.
View of Captains Tier
This is a view from the lower tier looking up toward the captain’s area.  The Security Chief and two Security Guards sit behind the counter on left, with the Captain and First and Second Officers sitting on the raised platform behind.  Notice the air conditioning unit on the side wall, which was installed especially for the simulator.  The vast majority of Shaler Elementary does not have air conditioning.  We are very fortunate.
Mid Tier
Here’s the mid tier as seen from the revolving door of the airlock.  The main viewscreen is beyond the left edge of the photo.  We’ve ordered some nice durable chairs for the simulator, and they will be arriving soon.  It will be nice to have some sturdy furniture to let the crew work together as a team in their mission.
Finished Counters
This is a view of the revolving airlock from the raised captain’s tier.  In the middle sits the Doctor’s station, where the Doctor can oversee the health and safety of the crew.
Second Officer
This is the Second Officer’s station, which sits on the raised Command Level next to the Captain.  The Second Officer is in charge of making logs and shipwide announcements, setting the ship’s alert level, and controlling the ship’s coolant systems.  Notice the realistic-looking diamond plate “metal” flooring.
The simulator seriously has top quality construction.  Bob has gone well above and beyond the call of duty to make the simulator a sturdy and safe place for students to learn for years to come.
We can’t wait to start running missions in it!
The Imaginarium reminds you to think out of the box and make the ordinary, extraordinary!

A very interesting piece of art in the local art gallery.

Always leave them guessing.

You're walking through the forest on your way to the campsite.
Then, off in the distance, a noise.
You turn.
"Hello," a young girl says.  "We've been watching you."

Of course we all want Hans Solo frozen in carbonite for our living room coffee table.

A once in a lifetime event coming up on Tuesday.
Our other sun makes an appearance.

One of the hardest decisions you'll ever have to make.

I need one of these for my Battlestar.

I'm moving toward the "Pull 'em up" stage of life.

Don't put your parents through this.  
Study hard, get good grades and get those scholarships.

This is yet another item on my wish list.
Creativity: A

An adjusted sign welcoming people to a university.

Brilliant advertising for tires that truly hug the road.

Clever: Yes.
Safe:  Not on your life.

It was weird hair day at her school.

Brilliant logo.

Awesomely creative main gate.

Home and Bart in the flesh.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Report on Monday's Space Center Committee Meeting. The Pale Blue Dot

Hello Troops,
We have a few things to look at in tonight's digital gathering here on the Troubadour, so grab a soda, get yourself comfortable and read on.

The Final Meeting of the Space Center Committee  

The final meeting of the school district's Space Center Committee was held Monday afternoon.
The Maintenance Director gave an update on a few action points from our last meeting.  
  • In our last meeting, I suggested we consider using iWorld's Valiant simulator at the Space Center to increase our field trip numbers from one to two classes per day.  Getting the The iWorlds Valiant up to code for school use would cost roughly $75,000.  Scratch using the Valiant off the list.  It isn't going to happen.  It isn't worth the cost.
  • The Magellan will be getting dimmers for its new lights.  Red lights will be installed next week. 
  • The Phoenix is ready to be put back together.
  • The Galileo is still waiting for speciality rivets so its walls can be installed.  Kyle Herring is examining a new, safer way of opening and closing the simulator's door.     

I asked about building a new Odyssey next to the Phoenix in the Space Center's Office.  Both the Maintenance Director and I thought it could be done for approx. $25,000, considering we have the old Odyssey's equipment in storage.    
  • Knowing that a new Space Center is roughly three or four years away, an 8 person Odyssey would allow us to increase our field trip numbers to two classes per day; with up to 35 students in each class.  
  • A new Odyssey would be wheelchair accessible - a problem we have right now with our three remaining simulators.  

The idea of a new Odyssey was warmly accepted by everyone on the committee.  I need to get a rough design of the new Odyssey to the Maintenance Department so it can be priced out.  The plans and price estimate would be taken to District administrators for a final decision.  We will prepare the proposal and hope for the best.  

I gave the committee an update on our new Space EdVentures Foundation.  Our Foundation is formally  requesting to rent the Space Center's simulators after school, Saturdays and summers.  The District's Building Rental Committee will review our application and set a rental price.   

The Space Center will open again for private missions and day camps if we can get a good rental and insurance rate.  Our volunteers program will resume if we open for private programs.  Again, it all depends on the rental and insurance rate.     

The Space Center is scheduled to reopen for field trips only on February 11. 

The Troubadour would like to thank the members of the Space Center Committee for their time and efforts in helping reopen the Space Center.

Mr. Williamson

Our Pale Blue Dot in Space


Sunday, January 27, 2013

America's Secret Weapon is Failing Us. It's Time for You to Step Up to the Plate. The Imaginarium.


Now that is what I call studying.
We should see this in all our schools and universities.

 Hello Troops,
America has relied on a secret weapon far too long to maintain our position as world leader in science and technology.   Changes are necessary in both our educational system and in the mind set of our students if we are to maintain our super power status in the world.  America needs its youth to realize the dangers ahead if action isn't taken now.  The choices are clear.  Maintain the status quo and witness the decline of the American Empire, or change our way of thinking and educating to guarantee the best is yet to come.   

Its time to make a decision regarding your education  Decide to take the hard classes.  Decide to get good grades.  Get use to the fact that school is hard.  Griping and complaining is a waste of your time and energy.  It gets you nowhere.   

"Mr. Williamson, I didn't have time to get my homework done.  You can't believe how busy I am after school."

I hear this excuse for not getting assignments in on time from a few of my very able, very capable students; thank goodness it is only a few.  The majority of my very able, very capable students work hard to get their work in on time and done well.   I don't worry about them.  The students I worry about are the ones with great intellectual talent MINUS an inner motivation to succeed.  This student is a teacher and parent's greatest challenge.  Some of them pull out of their educational free fall while others don't.  The ones who don't represent a tremendous loss of human potential.  It is a national tragedy.

Your successes in school pave the road to success later in life.  I urge you to imagine where you want to be in ten or twenty years.  Believe in those dreams and trust the fact that you have what it takes to get there.  Get the education required.  This is where the formula gets difficult.  This educational component is the part of the success formula where kids start to give up.  Don't let that happen to you. 

Getting it done it is the final step to success.  Don't forget failing is part of 'getting it done'.  Who hasn't succeeded without their fair share of failures.  We learn from our mistakes.

Your family, friends and teachers are cheering you on.
Now, go take on the world.

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium
Success always begins with imagination.  Remember to always make the ordinary, extraordinary.

Valentine's Day is three weeks away.
Time to start thinking about that person you'd like to like but afraid to make your
true intentions known.
Perhaps this imaginative Valentine's Day card will help :)

Not the best way to sell books but you've got to hand it to them for cleverness.

 More of Those Things that Drive You Nuts!


Manipulating Photographs didn't Start with Photoshop

 Awesome Street Art.
Imagination: A

Imagination involves finding commonality between two things which are seemingly unrelated
Become a master of the art.

Mario and Peach,
The Later Years.

Whoops,  that sticker really changed the character of the book.


Is this how business really works?

 I love Mark Twain

Who said cigarettes kill?
She's 48 and Still Doing Fine.

Anyone else dying of curiosity?
 This store has its customers guessing.

Chinese car.  German bicycle.

Refer to the video above.

Astronaut Food has Changed Over the Years.

 A good adage for those wanting to change an existing system.
You'll have your work cut out for you and it won't be easy.

I'm thinking this book was written about you.

Now you don't see this everyday.
Creativity: A

Enjoying life to the fullest knowing every day could be your last.
Learn this before you get too old.