Today's post will be real treat for the oldest Space Center fans out there. What would you say if I told you that James Porter, CMSEC Director, brought back the old XCraft from the 1990's for a one day engagement at the Provo Rec Center? I believe your response was "Unbelievable", but he did it.
The XCraft was this crazy idea I had back in the mid 1990's. It was a simulator inside an old StarLab bubble. My reasoning was good. We had the Voyager and Odyssey, but needed another ship to even out the numbers on our overnight missions. I wanted the campers to rotate once so we could use our 2.5 hour missions instead of writing the longer 7 hour missions of the day.
The Odyssey held 8. The Voyager took 12 or 13. I needed another ship to pair up with the Odyssey to equal the Voyager's numbers. I had a bubble, a sound system, and a large TV. What else did you need; well, computers come to mind. I didn't have computers to put in the bubble so I came up with this idea of an alien ship found adrift in space. The campers boarded the ship. Inside they found a main viewer, cushioned chairs and speakers - that's it. There were no visible controls of any kind. The campers soon figured out the ship was entirely voice activated and operated. There was one hitch, the XCraft's computer spoke an alien language - one they had to learn to decipher. Steve and Dave Wall ran the original XCraft. It was a lot of fun.
Fast forward a few decades and there's James Porter putting the XCraft back together for the Provo Rec Center's Science Palooza. James called it the Falcon, after the Starlab simulator Falcon we ran in the early 2000's. I took issue with the name. The Falcon was a fully decked out ship complete with computers. What James took to the Provo Rec Center was the XCraft because it didn't have computers.
The Rec Center was packed with a few thousand people for the Science Palooza. Many local and national companies were there teaching science. It was like a huge one day hands on science museum. The Space Center's XCraft was down this hall. Notice the sign says Science and Sci-Fi.
Right through those double doors.
And there it was - the Falcon "XCraft". Farpoint Voyager Mackenzie guarded the entrance during the short 15 minute mini-missions.
I took a quick look behind the bubble and found the magic.
Farpoint Cadets Lindsey, Scott, and Lissa were there assisting Flight Director Christine. Lissa was about to make an appearance as a Paklid in purple.
The mission involved a trip to a nebula. It just so happened that the voice activated ship encountered Paklids along the way.
The bubble was a kid magnet. Parents were having trouble keeping the little ones from running up and slapping the bubble. They thought it was one of those jumpy houses. Scott was posted to keep guard.
It was good seeing the old bubble ship up and running again. Maybe the Space Center should bring the XCraft back permanently.
Space and Science News from Spacerubble.blogspot.com
By Mark Daymont