|The Briefing Room's bunks gone. An empty cavern waiting for a simulator. The bunks were a part of the Briefing Room for nearly fourteen years.|
In 2004 I decided to rip the staff bunks out of the Briefing Room and build another simulator at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center to replace the Falcon. The Falcon was our set up and takedown every weekend six person cafeteria ship. The planetarium domes were getting too many holes, the equipment too battered. The Falcon had to go!
The Phoenix would be small, six people tops with the smallest control room by far of any of the ships. The staff had mixed emotions: another ship vs. keeping their beloved overnight camp triple bunks built where the original 1956 classroom's student cubbies and coats hung. In the end, I won out. I was the director and my decision was to build another ship. Another ship for school field trips was a necessity not to mention another ship for private parties. Small ships were very popular, just the right number of kids to squeeze into a minivan.
|The Phoenix under construction all framed in.|
|The Phoenix Control Room door frame|
|The Phoenix side entrance and small control room area.|
|The Briefing Room from inside the future Phoenix Bridge. Construction played havoc with my office work. I kept the Center operational at full capacity during construction: Field Trips, Overnight Camps, Private Missions etc.|
|The Phoenix as seen from my desk in the Briefing Room|
|We tried to keep the dust to a minimum with tarps, but the fine plastic powder from the FRP panelling got everywhere.|
|My desk area during construction|
The construction of the Phoenix gave me the excuse I needed to redesign the entrance to the Odyssey. This gave the Odyssey a boarding area.
The Odyssey new entrance as seen in the photo above taken from my desk in the Briefing Room. The Odyssey's turning door with the cool curved top opened into a small loading bay. A quick left turn took you into the ship. The door directly ahead of my desk was necessary for fire code. A turning door doesn't give rapid egress. The Phoenix's entrance is where the yellow scaffolding sits.
This was the new Odyssey entrance. The two carpets show where the entrance's darkroom turning door once stood.
|The left side of the Phoenix Control Room. We had a hatchway framed to the Phoenix Bridge to hold a backlit panel. Originally I wanted it to be a security monitor to track intruders in the ship. In the end a rod, dial, and switch panel was installed.|
This photo shows the Phoenix Bridge facing forward. The wood flooring is in with the tiers visible. We needed a platform for the 45 inch large screen - HDMI no less! The platform at the front was used for dial and switch panels and other engineering activities. It was also just the right size for a volunteer or staff to crawl in and scare the bejeebies out of the unsuspecting crew. Open a hatch and grab a leg was the preferred procedure for ultimate shock value.
|The Phoenix Bridge showing the emergency exit door frame required by firecode.|
|The new Briefing Room Entrance. Odyssey control room door on the immediate left. Phoenix on the right. Odyssey entrance dead ahead and through the archway to the office area.|
Today's Phoenix has a darkroom door of its own but that's not how we opened. The original entrance was the door. The small crew walked through the door into the cramped phone booth sized decontamination chamber; we opened the sliding door, and into the ship they went.
The current darkroom door was added a few years later. I found it at a neighbor's garage sale one Saturday morning.
The new USS Phoenix officially open for missions on June 5, 2005, the first 48 hour camp of the Summer 2005 camp season. Next month will be the USS Phoenix's twelfth anniversary. The simulators first flight directors were: David Kyle Herring, Josh Babb, Dave Daymont, and Lorraine Houston as flight directors.
|Jon Parker, the current Phoenix Set Director busy working away making the Phoenix even more awesome than it is!|
Do you have a favorite Phoenix story either as a camper, staff, or volunteer? Please send it along for a future blog post. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the Best!
By Mark Daymont
By Mark Daymont
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