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Tuesday, February 12, 2013


The Heroes of the Space Center
Today's Staff for the Grand Reopening (minus Mrs. Houston, Mrs. Clegg and Matt Ricks)
Megan, Connor, Aliah, Zac

Hello Troops,
The Space Center reopened today with Mrs. Johnson's sixth grade class from Central Elementary.  Because the Magellan and Phoenix are our only two operating ships, we can only take one class per day.  Half the class flew in the Magellan while the other half had their class and planetarium show.  The two teams switch places at lunchtime.  This was the Magellan's first crew since it docked at Starbase One for repairs and renovation at the end of July.

Mrs. Houston and Mrs. Clegg are back to teach the class and planetarium lessons.   Zac Hirschi and Megan Warner are back to fight direct.  Devin Sudwicks and Connor L., are back to supervise in the Magellan.  Connor L., Aliah E., Megan V., and Tregan E., are back as volunteers and Matt Ricks is our tech and programmer.  These folks are the life blood of the Space Center. 

Today was a happy day, but it wasn't without its trials.

10:30 A.M.
I walked into the Discovery Room from teaching my math class.  Mrs. Houston was busy teaching the Electromagnetic Spectrum Lesson to her group.  Things looked perfectly normal, just what I expected.  We've had 22 years of outstanding field trip experience.

10:30:10 A.M.
I walk into the Magellan Control Room.  Things seemed calm, but I could tell from the electricity in the air that they weren't.
"No, no, no," I heard Megan exclaim in her exhausted "I've tried everything and it still doesn't work" voice The video preview monitor wasn't working - among a dozen or so other things.  Off in the distance, I heard the faint sound of a woman's laughter.  The sound bore through my eardrums and lodged in my head.
"Did you year that?" Megan asked while swapping an S-video cable with an RCA cord.
"Yes," I answered.
"Is that a woman laughing."
"It'sYou Know Who."  I knew Megan knew who You Know Who was.  Her face went pale.
It was Fortuna, laughing at us from high upon Mt. Olympus,  taunting us as we feebly attempted to circumvent her mischievousness and reopen the Space Center.
"Not today.  Hasn't she done enough?  Doesn't she ever get tired of us?"  Megan mumbled as she click every button on the video switcher, trying to get some kind of an image to magically appear on the video monitor.

For those of you new to The Troubadour, Fortuna has visited the Space Center from time to time over the past 22 years.  She brings the Glitch Sisters with her as traveling companions.  The Glitches specialize in creative and unusual ways to bring any organization to its knees.

11:00 A.M.
The mission started.  Zac took his seat as Flight Director.  I sat in the 2nd Chair, feeling unsure of myself.  You see, the Voyager was my ship of 22 years.  I knew that ship inside and out.  I could give the Glitches a real run for their money in the Voyager;  well, not any more.  Now, I'm a fish out of water.  I'm working in the Magellan at the mercy of Zac and Megan.


 That's me saying
"I didn't do it, Don't blame me.  The computer did it."

Megan hovered overhead trying to find out why nothing worked. It was working last night when it was tested, and now it wasn't.  This was typical Fortuna and the Glitches.

The mission started.  I tried to keep up with Zac and the 15 students I was tracking through two computer screens.  I typed, answered the phone and did my best to figure out the complex Magellan video system.

Yes, that's my 'help me' look of panic.
Dave Daymont took the picture, laughed at my predicament and left.

Megan and Zac were kind.  They kept their impatience at my stumbling to themselves.   They didn't hurl derogatory remarks when I missed a que.  They helped any way they could as this old dog struggled to learn new tricks.  Connor, Aleta and Aliah did a great job on the bridge, keeping the mission moving along.

 Megan hovering.  Her hands were all over that wall.
Megan and Zac got us though the day.  Both have been with me for several years.
 They are true, Space Center Pros.

12:00 P.M.
We got through the first mission.  It was rough.  Hardly anything worked as it should.   Our flight group seemed oblivious to the panic behind the wall.  To our amazement, they enjoyed the mission.  They gave us a cheer!   During the transition between flight groups, Megan and Zac worked on the bullet "to do" list.  I got the other team and prepped them for boarding.

 Zac at the Flight Station

12:45 P.M.
The second mission started.   Someone was looking after us, because things went much better.  Yes, there were still a few glitches here and there, but overall, the second mission went 80% better.  I was happy, although still bewildered at the complexity of the Magellan.  I'll be honest - I miss the sweet simplicity of our fine old lady, the Voyager.


 Dave Daymont caught Megan laughing with Zac at my performance.
They both loved seeing me squirm!

It was fun working in a control room again.  It was fun hearing the sounds of children totally engaged in a mission.  It was exhilarating feeling the familiar adrenaline rush which comes from telling a Space Center story.  It was reassuring to feel the Space Center's spirit again.   Indeed, what a magical place this is; a place of great pride, imagination, creativity and accomplishment.

What lies ahead?  Now we work toward building a new Space Center, still a few years down the road.  As a private non profit organization, our Space EdVentures Foundation will work to find ways to bring the Space Center experience back to the general public through private missions and day camps. This way, everyone in our communities can benefit from the Center's reopening. 

Just think, for the first time in six months,  children will have a hard time sleeping tonight because they know tomorrow is their turn to go on the best field trip in the State of Utah.  It is their Space Center Day!    

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