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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Voyager's Mascot. The Original Odyssey Before its First Major Remodel. Theater Imaginarium.

The USS Voyager's Mascot

     This little guy was the USS Voyager's mascot for over a decade. My cousin won it at Lagoon in the mid to late 1990's, and because of its alien origin, gave it to me thinking I'd like to adopt it and give it a nice home. It eventually found a perch in the Voyager's Control Room above the 2FX station where it could keep a close eye on us to ensure authenticity. Let's be honest, none of us had experience on real starships. This guy obviously had. Occasionally the staff and volunteers, feeling sorry for the little guy, would take it on short outings. Here you see it sitting in the Voyager's jeffries tube, which places the photo in the late 1990's before the 2000 remodel.
     Soon my little friend will have a new home on the Voyager II where it can oversee our work to continue the Voyager's reputation of quality and guarantee continuity.  The new Voyager will open in May.  Keep an eye on The Troubadour for regular updates and news on the ship's grand opening celebrations.  
     Naming our little friend and returning him to his place of honor will be of highest priority.  Do you have a suggestion?

Mr. Williamson      

The Original USS Odyssey Before its Late 1990's Remodel

     The original USS Odyssey was built in 1993. It was upgraded multiple times over the years before its closure in August 2012.  Sitting approximately where today's Odyssey II sits, the Odyssey was a favorite to many campers because of its narrow, confined space, the bunks, and the engineering crawl space. It was also the simulator where all our early flight directors trained.  
     A double door (sliding and hatchway) led to the Odyssey's mid deck. 

      The interior was simple by today's simulator standards. I didn't have a lot of money for set decorations in those days. The computers were purchased used.  Computers were all white in those days, so I was surprised to find a few black ones. I bought them as a novelty - to make the simulator different than its older sibling, the Voyager. 
     I took the photo above standing on the back deck looking toward the front of the ship.  Three bunks were on my immediate left. The sickbay diagnostic bed was on my right.   

      Behind me was the engineering compartment. The campers had to crawl through that opening to access that section. The damage from its constant use is obvious in the photo.  If there was ever a bloodletting device in any of our simulators, it was this hatch.  The engineer inhabiting it's claustrophobic enclosure understood the Voyager's mission better than his own. The back wall of the compartment was shared by the Voyager's bridge - directly behind the jeffries tube. One of the Voyager's four speakers hung on that shared wall.  Remember, I took these photos to document that incarnation of the Odyssey. A much needed remodel was scheduled and I wanted pictures for our archives.  

     Finding meaningful work for eight campers was difficult.  For example, one of the officers was responsible for the simulator's lights (the station on the left). Wow, what fun!  Another reason why a remodel was necessary.  
     The hatchway between the Odyssey's Control Room and the ship can be seen under the front desk. The campers kept kicking it open. It was a constant headache. 

     This is how the Odyssey's entrance looked after the remodel in 2000.  "Docking Bay 1" was painted above the door. The simulator's name and registration number was added to the outer wall. Look through into the ship and you'll notice the Odyssey's computers were hidden behind black plastic enclosures. 
     Dave Wall was the ship's set director. Dave and his brother Steve built the Odyssey nine years earlier. Dave was frustrated by a mission video tape the Odyssey's VCR had eaten to shreds during an overnight camp. This was his way of convincing me to buy another VCR.
It worked.  

The New Odyssey

      The new USS Odyssey at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center seriously dates its predecessor. It is a fitting tribute to the original ship, a true beauty, and a joy to fly.  Book your summer camp today. Experience the unique adventures offered at the Space Center. Experience the new Odyssey.

Mr. Williamson  

Theater Imaginarium

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