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Monday, January 13, 2014

Saturday at the Space Centers. Cadet Comments. The Imaginarium

Hello Troops,
     I stopped at the two Space Centers after working on the Vanguard's design at Renaissance Academy Saturday morning.  I'm always on the hunt for a story or two to keep you updated on all things related to the Space Centers.
     I never travel alone.  With me goes my trusted ipad.  It's good for notes, and has a handy built in camera feature that comes in handy when a picture would speak a thousand words.

     We all have our faults, and my ipad is no exception; take my ipad's lack of a flash for example.   If you strain your eyes and imagination, you might make out who the person is in the photo above.  His name is Brandon Wright. He works for DSim (job 1) and is BJ Warner's assistant at the Lakeview Space Center.  On Saturday I found him working on the Discovery Space Center's Endeavor simulator.  The Endeavor is closed for a complete overhaul and renovation.  New paint and new computers are on the "to do" list.  
     "There's some serious money being spent on this ship," I observed to Casey Voeks, DSC's director. 
     "You think!" he replied.  
     Brandon interrupted our conversation. "I need a drill and some other tools."  
     "A what?" Casey questioned.  Brandon looked at me slightly confused then back at Casey.
     "A drill." 
     Casey looked at me slightly confused, then back at Brandon.  "I heard you and I'm asking, What is a Drill?"  
     I looked slightly confused at Brandon, then back at Casey.  Then I remembered Casey is more of an idea imagineer.  He holds tools for photo ops then quickly returns them to their proper owner before he hurts himself or someone else.  "Oh, I gotcha ya.  Listen Casey.  A drill is a tool people use to drill holes or screw things in - like screws.  They are electric."
     The light bulb came on.  "I'll pick one up when I go buy the Endeavor's new computers." 


     I wandered the Discovery Center looking for another story.  I was drawn to the Challenger by voices and bright lights.  
     "What's up?"
     "We're shooting a Discovery Space Center commercial.  It'll play at the Water Gardens before the movies start," someone answered; it might have been BJ, or maybe Casey.  Come to think about it, it might have been Skyler Carr.  I can't be sure so I'll leave it as 'someone answered'.  
     "Now that's a big story,"  I said realizing I'd hit the day's mother load.  
     BJ explained. "Our commercial will play twice before each movie."  
     "There's some serious money being spent on this.  You're using professional equipment on this commercial."   My mind was adding up the costs.  "I would have done this for you for free with my trusted ipad."  I held it up for all to see and admire.  
     Casey laughed.  "This is all volunteer.  People are helping out wherever they can.  Great things are happing at the Discovery Space Center."  
     "I can see that,"  I replied closing my ipad's cover.  Things have come a long way since that opening day last March."  
     I left the DSC right after that; but before leaving, I took a few minutes to play with Bradyn Lystrup's awesome four propellor hovercraft / helicopter / drone.   It's super quiet, small and stealthy - the perfect addition to any landing party.  Bradyn handled the aircraft with precision.  I flew it like the true uncoordinated rookie that I am.  He asked for it back after I crashed it into the ceiling and floor a few times - not to mention nearly decapitating a few of the DSC's flight directors.  
     My next stop was the CMSEC at Central school, my old haunting grounds.  


     Jon Parker was the DOD (Director on Duty).  I found him sitting in the Space Center's office (the school's old nurses office from the late 1950's).  Jon was sitting away from the desk working on his laptop.
     "Why are you sitting there?" I asked as I admired the colorful post-it-note iMac computer frame.
     "It's just easier working here," he replied.
     "Wow, business must really be picking up?" The sleuthing was easy with an obvious conclusion.  Many of the post it notes were call backs - people wanting to book private missions and school field trips.
     I decided to offer a bit of advice. After all, it's Jon we're talking about. "The best way to clear a desk is to take one note, make the call, book the mission and throw the note away.  Then take another and do the same.  I think I'd throw the dead cold fries away and find a better place for the summer flyers."
    "Really, is that what you'd do?" The voice was sarcastic.  "Most of those are for Megan, not me."
    "Well, never mind then."  I took the picture you see above then noticed a few mission binders on the shelve behind the desk.

    There they were, my school field trip missions: Intolerance, Perilko, A Cry From the Dark, and Supernova.  It was nice to see my missions live on without me.  
     I left the office in search of a story.  
     The Magellan was in full flight when I poked my head in to say hello to our Farpoint cadets.  I immediately recognized the tactical pictures.  Connor and gang were telling Midnight Rescue (Stazi for all you real old timers out there).   

     This is a motion shot as the Voyager raced to get back across the border into Federation space with New Earth fighters hot on their tail.  Bracken Funk made this tactical, and did a great job.  If given the chance, I'd change the New Earth logo.  It looks too much like the Cadillac logo.  Wait a minute, there's a great idea for a future Farpoint mission.  The Vanguard being chased by a squadron of Cadillac fighters, followed by a few Ford Destroyers.

Mr. W.

Connor in the FD's seat with Farpont Cadet Jake in black and Andrew playing the part of the supervisor.

The Phoenix is almost ready to fly.
Christine Grosland with her sister Sara flying the Odyssey.
Our Farpoint Cadets are ready and willing to jump in and play any part when needed.
Nathan playing a "Bad Guy" in the Galileo.  Here he is messing up the Galileo while the crew is on an away team.

 Farpoint Cadet Comments

Orion Wrote:
Once, during an overnighter, a really smart doctor had the brilliant idea of a character (animal) named "Brucey the Bat."  It was my favorite part of the overnighter.
I've noticed that many flight directors are kind of crazy.  Some like volunteers flying 2nd chair, while others don't use actors.  Maybe they just don't need volunteers, or maybe it is a side effect of the stress.  Do flight directors even have other jobs?

Isaac Wrote:
Volunteering has made a very big difference in my life!  But of all the things, volunteering has done for me, the biggest thing that it has taught me is to have courage.  At first, I was super scared to go play a ship doctor for even 5 people.  Now I fell I can play roles in front of large crowds.   My acting skills have definitely improved, and I love what I do.  I strongly recommend volunteering to any campers out there that love the Space Center.  

The Imaginarium
Watch the Ordinary morph into the Extraordinary

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