We're at the end of June. One month of summer vacation down and 1.5 to go. I thought that fact would make your day.
I have a few items to share with you as I sum up this last week at the space centers. Let's start by welcoming three new Farpoint Voyager cadets to the swelling ranks of the gifted and talented.
That's my job done. Proper introduction have been made. Introduce yourself when you work with them. Ask questions. Tell them about yourself. Remember, we're all in this Space Center business together so let's get to know each other. Also remember, these new cadets will be joining you in fierce phaser battles in the hallways against visiting campers. They'll be more inclined to watch your back if they know who you are.
I'd like to comment on the fine quality of cadets we have in our Farpoint Voyager Club. Describing them as the cream of crop from northern Utah's teen population is no exaggeration. I know I speak for the staff of both space education centers when I say "Thank you" to our cadets for the great work they're doing.
The Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center's Day Camp
The CMSEC at Central School held a well attended Day Camp last week. I say "well attended" because there seems to be a misunderstanding out there in our local communities that the Space Center is still closed. That misunderstanding has resulted in lower than average camp numbers for this summer of 2014. Please help get the word out that the Space Center is open for business and has some fantastic offerings for this summer's camps.
Nicole was the Magellan's flight director for the Day Camp assisted by three of our outstanding cadets: Rich, Marissa, and Jace. Rich would like me to add that they are seated in order of importance with Nicole in the FD's seat, then Rich, Marissa, and finally Jace. Jace strongly disagrees with Rich's statement. Marissa ignores them both and just does the job she's trained to do.
The following are a few pictures of very happy Magellan Day Campers.
The photo above is for all you old timers. Do these name tags on the table bring back summer camp memories?
I had to chastise Rich and Isaac (standing) for overlooking a uniform malfunction on one of their security guards. Notice the young man in the center has his uniform on backwards. They promptly stopped the training session and corrected the problem.
I was not pleased and let them know. "How can you expect the captain to trust his security if they're not dressed properly? Three demerits each!"
Day Camps end just like they start - in the gym. Megan always has something to say (and when has she not?). In this debriefing at the end of day one, Megan explains how lucky they are to have me present in the same room. "He's the guy that started all this," she said. I expected applause. I got a few glances and a smile or two. Megan moved on.
She explained how lucky they were to be the first campers in over ten years to get a choice of T-shirt color. Gone are the days of one color for all - black. I instituted that policy, taking the idea from Henry Ford himself. Once someone asked Henry Ford if customers could get a Model T car in different colors. "They can have any color they want," Henry answered, "as long as it's black." Congratulations go to Megan for putting the Space Center back into color. Gone are its black and white days.
James Porter, New Space Center Director, Flight Directs His First Mission
James Porter is the Space Center's new director, officially taking the reigns on Monday of last week. James last flew a mission at the Space Center ten years ago. Rusty would be a good adjective to describe his 'gift', but fear of flying after a decade without a mic in his hand didn't stop James Porter from drawing his sword and leading his troops into memorable combat.
Word reached The Troubadour that after a few days 'observing', Mr. Porter was going to fly the Odyssey on one of the Day Camp's rotations. The Troubadour's news room went into panic mode searching for someone able to rush right down to take a snapshot or two. I grabbed my IPad and drove straight there.
Mr. Porter was in the Odyssey finishing up the crew's training.
I saw no sign of nerves. His voice was calm, without the slightest wisp of shakiness. He stood confidently - fully in charge of the situation. His staff was impressed. "He's my hero," said one of the staff as she watched from the control room on the simulator's CCTV. "If only I had that gift," was heard from another.
I came back later to capture a picture of Mr. Porter in flight. He jumped out of his chair to present his best side for the photo.
Congratulations go to Mr. James Porter for his return to the flight director's chair. There will be thousands and thousands of missions to come over the next several years. I should know - I've been there :)
News from the Discovery Space Center
Bracken Funk was left unsupervised at the Discovery Space Center yesterday. Casey should have know better, but was distracted by rumblings in the Republican Party and couldn't properly keep track of all the fires he had burning around him.
With his unsupervised freedom, Bracken took several liberties in the DSC's Room of Requirement. He created a very nice gift shop at the back of the room, along with a few other cosmetic changes. Scott Warner played his incorrigible side kick. Together they've given the room a new look. I suggested he call Casey and ask forgiveness since it was obvious he hadn't asked for permission. Casey answered the call as he drove back from Heber. Bracken explained what he had done then quickly added that I was there and approved.
I'll find out on Monday whether or not Bracken is still employed at DSC and let you know.
The DSC was voted #1 in Utah County by the Best in Utah organization for birthday parties. Congratulations Casey and team.
What Keeps a Flight Director Going
How does a DSC flight director make it through one four hour mission after another on those long Galaxy Camps? Easy, keep the junk food flowing. It's a proven fact that you can't fall asleep if you're chewing. At least that's what Jorden said when I asked him about the snacks he had spread over his table.
Connor looks relaxed, doesn't he? I could think of one hundred other places to work on mission ideas other than the floor of the Atlantis Control Room, but that's me. Connor is the kind of guy who can imagineer anytime and anyplace.
One of the funnest Galaxy Camp activities is the water balloon fight on day 2. It's capture the flag with water balloons. The balloons are biodegradable so they break easily. Let's just say most of the kids go down by friendly fire!
Mr. Williamson is the Voice of the DSC's Safety Video
Yes troops, I am the voice of the DSC's new safety video which was filmed late last Thursday afternoon. BJ Warner wrote the script themed on those old 1950's era school films. I'd like to say I was true to my motto "One Take Charlie" but I wasn't. I messed up the reading a few times - bifocal problems - but got the job done eventually. Casey's little brother plays the part of Billy The Confused. Thanks go to a few of our other Farpoint cadets who assisted by playing the parts of unruly children.
All in all it was a great week at the two space education centers.
Space and Science News
50 Years Ago: X-15 Number 2 Rebuilt, Flies Again
X-15 Number 2, on a later test flight using ablative coatings and extra fuel tanks, dropping from a B-52 mothership. NASA photo release.
On June 25, 1964, The second-built X-15 test rocket plane returned to service. The craft had suffered a significant, but not destructive, crash back in November 1962, when it had flipped over on its back after a rough landing on a dry lake bed. On it's return flight, Major Robert Rushworth of the USAF dropped from its B-52 carrier, ignited the engine, and flew to an altitude of 82,000 feet, reaching a speed of Mach 4.49! This aircraft survived the rest of its test flights, and is currently preserved for viewing at the Wright-Patterson AFB National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio.
NASA photo release of the original crash pictures.