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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yesteryear's Summer Space Camps in the Old Falcon and Odyssey Simulators. The Imaginarium.

Summer Space Camp Old School in the Falcon and Odyssey I.  

Hello Space Fans,
I was looking through some of my photos of yesteryear's Space Center (1990-2012) and decided to share a few with you. The theme of tonight's post is summer space camps from long ago. Considering the best way to post them, I decided I'd start with two simulators gone - but not forgotten. These two simulators were loved by thousands of the Space Center's fans, volunteers, and staff.  I'm talking about the Falcon and Odyssey I.

The Falcon

The Space Center sign at the entrance to the school cafeteria (where you enter to board the Galileo) says Falcon / Galileo.  The Falcon was our two bubble simulator used years ago on overnight and summer space camps.  The Falcon took so long to inflate and assemble, and then deflate and dissemble, that using it after school for private missions was out of the question.  

Randy Jepperson and Mark Daymont back in the day working a Falcon mission.  The Falcon Control
equipment was kept in a large, wheeled cabinet like the ones you see below.

Getting the cabinets, chairs and domes in place was the first step in setting up the Falcon.  Once they were in place the fan was switched on and the dome pulled up and over the cabinets. The air from the fan inflated the dome.  The pads on top of the cabinet protected the dome's fabric from the wood's sharp corners.

The Falcon, set up and ready to fly.  One dome was the bridge of the ship. The other dome was used as a gathering point for discussions and scary away missions.

This is the inside of the Falcon. Computers were stored behind the black plastic. The printer was connected to the computer you see in the picture two photos above.
Besides set up and take down, sound was the biggest problem for the Falcon. The thin fabric dome walls had zero sound insulation so noise from the Galileo was a constant bother.  The Falcon staff also had to keep their discussions to a whisper to keep the Falconites from hearing them scheme and plot against them (as we all do even today in our control rooms).

The Original Odyssey 
The Favorite Simulator for Thousands of our Summer Campers.  

Where do I start when talking about the original Odyssey?
It was paid for with a $25,000 grant from US West and built with the blood, sweat, and tears of the Wall Brothers - Dave and Steve - along with help from a few other of our real old time volunteers.
The original Odyssey was demolished during the 2012-2013 school year so today's Odyssey could be built.  Yes, the old Odyssey had it's problems, but what a fine and challenging simulator it was. Just ask any of the Odyssey's old flight directors to share a story or two, then sit back and be amazed.  

In the photo above you see the mid and back levels of the Odyssey.  This is a very old picture of the Odyssey because of the three bunks you see at the back right side of the ship. The bottom bunk was a real problem for us. It held the only electrical plug for the that back side of the ship.  We needed the plug for the printer.  Nearly everyone assigned to recover from an illness or phaser blast in that bunk seemed to find that plug and mess with it causing numerous printing malfunctions.

There was an escape hatch at the bottom of that same bunk which led to the Briefing Room.  Many a time I'd be at my desk during an Odyssey mission and hear the campers whispering about the strange room they discovered on the other side of 'that' hatch.  Often they'd try to escape the ship through that hatch, only to find me standing there with a stern look and finger pointing them back into the simulator. Yes - 'busted!'

The small rectangle open hatchway on the back wall led to the small engineering compartment.
The hatchway had a screw that often became loose. Many a bandaid over time was used to heal wounds caused by that one screw.  Yes, the Odyssey had a few problems.

The Odyssey's entrance changed over the years. The original entrance seen above was a hatch door. What you don't see is the sliding door hidden in the wall behind Mr. Schuler (green shirt) that would be drawn closed after the hatch door was closed.  

In the photo above the commander of the USS Salt Lake City (submarine) was invited to officially open the Odyssey simulator by cutting the ribbon. 

The Odyssey's entrance was first redesigned by installing a revolving door.  This allowed the staff to enter and exit the ship without letting the crew see into the Briefing Room.
Notice the small gift shop counter currently in the Discovery Room was originally kept by the Briefing Room door.  You can also see the staff bunks on the wall.  The Phoenix sits where the bunk and gift shop once were.  

One method Odyssey flight directors used to scare their crews was to send Voyager volunteers out to bank and kick the simulator's outer wall.  The banging lasted to the end of the Odyssey's long run.  I had to put an end to the kicking after two sheetrock repairs.

More on the original Odyssey in the next Troubadour post.

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium

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