|Megan and Connor Flight Testing the Phoenix|
We are down to the wire. The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center opens for field trips on Monday. Staff and volunteers have been in and out all week working to reassemble, clean, repair and prep the Magellan, Phoenix and Galileo for our grand opening. Some things have gone smoothly. Understandable, some things haven't.
|Rich and Mark. Guinea Pigs|
|Rich, wondering what all the fuss was about|
|Rich and Mark thinking their way through a complex set of instructions|
Our simulators have personalities of their own and don't take kindly to long periods of inactivity. The staff call this form of anthropomorphous "The Space Center law of Entropy". The Space Center Law of Entropy states that the nature of our equipment and computer programs tends to move from order to disorder in our isolated systems. How many times have we returned from long Christmas and summer breaks only to find out that one or more of our five simulators had contracted some kind of malignancy involving a major computer, sound or computer programming issue? I expected the same from this prolonged dormancy. I wasn't disappointed. Our simulators have lived up to their reputation, and more.
|The Magellan Control Room Getting Put Back Together|
|Zac trying to figure out how to put the sound system back together, and this - the last working day before our reopening|
I took out my camera to immortalize this afternoon's rush to get things ready for Monday. Starring in our much anticipated video are: 1) Megan Warner, playing the role of a Phoenix damsel in distress 2) Zac Hirschi, playing the Sheriff of Magellantown 3) Connor L., playing the boy with the gimpy leg who loves dogs 4) Jon Parker, playing the village Know it All 5) Mark S., playing the village bully and general miscreant 6) Rich S., playing the boy who epitomises the hope of America, and 7) Me, the village idiot.
|The Magellan. Waiting for its Red Lights|
The video starts in the Phoenix. Megan and Connor are seen taking the simulator through her flight tests. Mark and Rich are the guinea pigs inside the simulator. They are to push buttons on command and provide intelligent responses when prompted. From the Phoenix, the camera takes us into the Voyager, giving you a behind the scenes look at the simulator which, at one time, was the pride of the Space Center Fleet. The Magellan / Discovery is our final stop on our video tour. You'll see Zac and Jon engrossed in a typical water cooler conversation. Even our unsinkable staff need a few moments of down time to gossip and solve the world's economic, political and religious problems.
|The Discovery Room|
|Jon, doing a bit of video editing|
My apologies for the shaky and jerky cinematography. My apologies for covering the microphone from time to time with my index finger. My apologies for converting it to a lower quality, 12 frames per second video, in an effort to save a bit of my Friday night. My heck, I should just apologize for making it!
And now, without further ado, may I present my short video (filmed this afternoon) showing what we have accomplished, and what we have yet to accomplish for Monday's Opening of the Space Center (for field trips only). Again, we are working on a way to offer private parties and summer day camps. Stay tuned for further developments.
An amazing photograph of the Earth and Moon as seen by the Messenger Probe from a distance of 114 million miles (remember, the Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun).