Contact Victor Williamson with your questions about simulator based experiential education programs for your school.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

More From the Series "Where Are Those People From the Space Center's Old Staff / Cast Board. Are They Still Living Amongst Us?" Plus, Theater Imaginarium.

David Merrell Removing his Picture from the Cast "Staff" Board on the Day of his Retirement
From the Center and the Odyssey

Last Sunday I posted the first article highlighting the old Staff Picture Board at the front of the Briefing Room (home of today's Odyssey and Phoenix Simulators).  Using the Blog Directory in the right side bar you can find previous post on the "Staff / Cast" board and catch up on old staff from the Space Center's Voyager Era.

The photos are posted as they are today complete with staple marks, blemishes, warts and all. 

David Kyle Herring   

David Kyle Herring.  "The Fish"
Any remberences of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center's Voyager Era would be incomplete without a tribute to this young man, The Great Fish himself, David Kyle Herring.  Kyle was my chief Imagineer.  If you enjoy today's Magellan, Galileo, and Phoenix you can thank Kyle for that.  

David Kyle's First Ship Galileo on the Eve of the Galileo's demolition and the Arrival of the his New Galileo

David Kyle's New Galileo, Build off site and Assembled in Central School's Cafeteria by Kyle and Team.

For over a decade Kyle oversaw the creation of those ships and any additions, refurbishments, and renovations required for the other ships. So much of Kyle exists in those ships I believe they could be thought of as horcruxes for his soul.  

David Kyle During the Building of the Phoenix
The Phoenix under construction in the Briefing Room.  I continued office work at my desk as normal during the chaos, dust, sawing, and hammering.

Mark Daymont, David Kyle, and Kyle's assistant showing off the prototype of the new Magellan's desk. The
Prototype was sent to the District woodshop which made the current Magellan furniture.
David Kyle oversaw the demolition of the Magellan I and the construction of the Magellan II, all on a shoestring budget
with help from Ed Sanderson and his Lone Peak students 

David Kyle's Look when he'd had it with red tape and bureaucracies 

Did Kyle ruffle a few feathers from time to time in the Ivory Tower? Sure did.  Did Kyle forcefully champion the Space Center and its expansions to the point of pushing policy into the "no one has ever done that before" realm?  Sure did.  Did he even drive me crazy from time to time? Absolutely, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.  From time to time we'd butt heads over some feature in the simulators I wanted this way and he wanted that way. In the end either I'd see it his way or we'd compromise. Rarely did I ever need to say NO, and if I did it was usually a budget issue. He wanted $$$$$$$$$ and I'd want $$.  In the end it was usually $$$$.  

David Kyle Flying a Voyager Overnight Mission

Kyle was a Voyager Flight Director.  He was the first person I allowed to fly the Voyager on the Overnight Camps. Back in the day I flew EVERY Voyager mission.  The pressures of running all those missions AND administering the Space Center was taking its toll on my sanity, patience, and mood.  Kyle saw that and through gentle persuasion, convinced me that he could do the job and maintain the Voyager's quality and reputation so I could use the Friday overnight camps to do office work instead of fly. It was a God send. I could go home earlier on Saturdays!  

David Kyle with Space Center Mom Lorraine During a Summer 48 Hour Camp

I could go on telling you more about Kyle, but when all is said and done, he rightfully occupies a spot in Space Center lore as a member of the Center's Founding Circle thanks to his contributions over the years. Please thank him if you ever have the pleasure of meeting him. 

David Kyle Today

David Kyle and I keep in touch and speak regularly and yes, there are times I use the "Reactivation Clause" in everyone's Space Center Contract to call him out to help with the new Voyager. 

David Kyle on December 21st helping solve the New Voyager's camera problems. He had it solved in no time.

David Kyle, Michelle and family
David Kyle "The Fish" married Michelle Hinman. Together they have two beautiful children and live in Orem.  Michelle is an RN at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  David Kyle is an account executive and product designer at Design Manufacturing International. David Kyle spends his spare time chasing after his little ones and working on the election campaigns for local politicians and conservative causes.  

 Aaron Yeager

Aaron Yeager was an Odyssey Flight Director and master mission writer in the early 2000's. As you read in yesterday's blogpost, Aaron has the decibel record for loudest Odyssey crew screams during a mission.  I should know, my desk and the Odyssey shared the same room.  Aaron loved the Odyssey and loved the role of Flight Director.  Who wouldn't want to play Game Master and control the lives and destiny's of 8 younglings?

I lost touch with Aaron over the years but am happy to report that subspace communications have been established.  Aaron has consented to come out to see the new Voyager and catch up on old times. Thank you Facebook.  

Aaron leading a panel discussion at ComicCon in Salt Lake (all the way on the right, white shirt)

Aaron in his Flight Director Greens holding his firstborn

Aaron and family
In 2000 Aaron married Ruth Ann Sampson. Today they live in Clearfield, Utah.  Aaron spends much of his time writing books and doing the "Con" circuit.

Sorein Seibach

Soren was one of those Orem boys along with Stephen and James Porter and Jason Hills.  He volunteered for a time and then rose though the ranks to the position of Blue Shirt Supervisor.  He was also one of those gifted kids who knew more than I did about pretty much everything.  Soren helped on the programming side of things as well.  I've lost touch with Soren over the years, but know that he left Utah to attend Harvard University (see, I told you he was smart). 

Soren (checkered shirt) with his tribe of Voyager Boys

Soren was well liked by everyone - a great personality and dry sense of humor; the perfect blend for a Space Center staff member. 

Theater Imaginarium
The Best Gifs of the Week Edited for a Gentler Audience

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Learn the History of This Fantastic Movement, Read These Posts from the Past with Pictures. Today, Posts from June 2001. Read About the Best Mission Ever Written and Told at Any Space Center Past and Present. A New Lord of the Votes Trophy. Odyssey Sets New Screaming Record. 65 Kids in a Week Long Camp! No Problem. Plus, the Imaginarium.

Hello Space Center Fans, Staff, Retired Staff, and Volunteers,
Today I'm posting another installment in the never ending saga titled "Know Your Space Center History".  I'm going through the Space Center's First Blog called "SpaceEdVentures" and pulling posts that I believe have historical value.  I hope you're enjoying them as much as me.  The nostalgia runneth over for sure. 

The Space Center was and is a magical place of dreams.

Mr. Williamson

How many computers did the Space Center Own in June of 2001.  The Magellan alone had nearly 40!
A Picture of the Magellan Bridge in 2001.  We're Holding an Honor's Night.  The Control Room Door is on the right of the TV.  The door into the Magellan from Discovery Room is on the far right.

How Many Computers Did the Space Center Own in June 2001?
June 6, 2001

Hello Troops!

Well, the suspense is over. The Space Center has 99 computers in use (this does not count the Falcon's PCs which are kept in storage).  Congratulations to Nathan Adams, the only member of the egroup to get it right. What a guess Nathan!

All the Best!
Mr. Williamson

The New Story Characters in the Summer Camps. Brady Young Shot Down by Bailey Hodson as Lord of the Votes. Stephen and James Porter Donate the New Lord of the Votes Trophy with the Scroll of Coolness.  The Odyssey Sets a New Decibel Record for Screaming. 

June 10, 2001

Hello Troops!
Well 2 summer programs down and a whole bunch to go. We just finished a summer overnighter and our first Naval Academy. Both went very well. We also had two days of Girl Scout tours, starlab shows, and missions.Let us just say that they had their moments. 

I don't know about you, but I'm really enjoying this summer schedule. I love not having to talk about the Pennae and the Pennou 2 or 3 times a day. What a relief. I also don't have to be at school by 8:00 A.M. everyday. I'm sure you are enjoying your summer as well.

David Merrell, Odyssey Set Director, at work in the Odyssey Control Room.

This week will be interesting. This week the Voyager, Magellan, and Odyssey start their new missions for the Day Camp. All three simulators have run trial missions for promotion flights. The Magellan's Promotion Mission was last night. The crew consisted of

Sean Smith
Russell Schaefer
Kevin Anderson
Bridger Hendrickson
Tanner Edwards
Andy Hoyt
Brad Cummings
Alan Johnson

This summer will see the introduction of a new antagonists for the Federation in the way of the Soviets, a Borg appearance or two, the definite smell of cheese (do you get it?), and the antics of a new Paklid named Chief Inspector Maximilian Alexander Rump of Z.I.T

Zeoorf (Paklid word for Secret)

Inzeefartulamedulaoblongota (Paklid word for Intelligence - because you 
have to be smart to say it!)

Teezzara (Paklid word for Agency)

on the prowl and a general "pain in the backside" for the unsuspecting crew of the Voyager.

This will be a fun summer for all. Yes the halls are beginning to show signs of construction but it's all in the attitude. If we are at camp to have good time then the kids will have a good time with us.

Those of you coming to work this week, please remember the dress code:

Your Space Center Shirt, Black Pants (you can wear shorts but you need to have black pants for the acting roles. The pants with the zip bottom legs are OK as long as 
you don't keep playing with your zippers! - Bryce!)

Brady Young Earning a new Set of Pips at an Honor's Night from Mrs. Houston.  Brady was a Tough One to Beat in Votes.

I want to congratulate Bailey Hodson for being our "Lord(ess) of the Votes" on the last overnight mission. She beat the one of the greatest Vote Fishers of all time - Brady Young - by a nickel. Good going Bailey. Let's hear it for the girls of the Space Center! Bailey was the 
first to place her name on the Scroll of Coolness located on the new Lord of the Votes trophy kept in the Briefing Room. A special thanks to Stephen and James Porter for the Trophy and idea.

Here are a few quick bits for the week:

1. Bryson Lystrup experienced the sensation of duct tape on the back of the neck. 
2. Brady Young experienced defeat as he lost Lord of the Votes by a nickel.
3. Mike Nielson, Aspen King, and Megan DeMasters from the Pioneers all had the pleasure of working with the Voyagers on an overnight mission. Will they ever want to come back?
4. Stephen Porter continues to complain over any food with the slightest hint that in contains anything grown in the ground.
5. Bryce Redd had the honor of chaperoning the Boys on the overnight mission. His first time. He looked well rested in the morning. He didn't even hear them as they ran wild through the ship and attempted escape several times over. Then there was the shaving

Tanner Edwards with the Galileo

6. Tanner Edwards finished all of his passes! Good job Tanner. Now he waits for an opening in the Blue Shirts - and waits - and waits -  I told him there had to be an opening. A current Blue Shirt must either be promoted or quit. I saw his eyes light up. Beware Blue Shirts of Tanner bringing treats and offering them to you first. 
7. We all went to sleep in record time.

Volunteers Doing What it Takes to scare the socks of the Odyssey Crew 

8. Aaron Yeager hit an all time new decibal rating from a crew of girls when his creature popped through the replicator hatch of the Odyssey. Mr. Daymont and I were there. The screaming from the crew was the loudest ever heard. Afterword the girls had to have 
an emergency break. Several ran for the toilets.
9. The Space Academy went well on Wednesday and Thursday. 
10. The air conditioners are working well. Touch wood.

That is enough. You've just experienced the past week. Now, below is the working list for this week. Please look it over carefully. Be sure to arrive on time. If you are working the Day
Camps please eat lunch before you arrive.

Thanks Troops for a great week. Thank you for your support and willingness to take any assignment. Now let's have another great week!

Mr. Williamson

Space Center Journal Update.  Day Camps. Power Failures. Shadows. Galileo Gets a New Engineering Station.  Magellan Gets a New Engineering Station. David Merrell Finishes New Odyssey Controls. The Falcon Readys as a Mars Base.  Admiral Schuler's Birthday Cake Blowout!

June 17, 2001

Hello Troops,
A few comments to update the Center's Journal.  This last week went very fast. We started the week with our first Day Camp. It went very well. The students arrived Monday morning at 8:00 A.M. I signed them in. Fred Olsen, Lorraine Houston, and Jennifer Remy were the teachers. They were divided into 3 teams and sent to their classes. They ate lunch at 11:30 and then into the simulators.  I enjoyed my two groups. Nothing to report on the first day in the way of memorable things. The second day was a different story.

Mrs Houston with a Class of Summer Campers

Day 2 of the Camp ended very good except for a storm that was approaching. We noticed the temperature was dropping fast. The wind was blowing hard. When this happens we all think the same thing: POWER FAILURE! All fingers were crossed that we would finish the 
flights before the power went out and Fortuna blessed us. Just as we let the kids go the power when out. Luckily we had the ships shut down. The power was out for several hours. The evening Odyssey mission also had to be canceled. Branches were blown down throughout the valley.

The Day Camp was scored very well. You can read the scores of the simulations and classes on an earlier post. 

Wednesday and Thursday were down days except for private missions in all of the ships. Thursday evening I did a private Level 3 mission for Kirby Glad and a group of adults. We did our new summer story "Shadows". They did well and will come back in August to finish the story.

Kyle Herring has been busy in the Galileo and Magellan. Kyle installed two new plasma cylinders and a new engineering station in the Galileo. It is "way cool" if I must say so myself. The Galileo will be a tough bird to beat in the simulator ratings this summer with this new station. Next time you come to the Center please take a minute to admire his work.  The Magellan staff is working on building a new engineering station under the top platform in the Magellan. A computer was installed down there on Saturday so the engineer can keep in touch with the control room. 

David Merrell in the Odyssey

David Merrell is busy in the Odyssey with the Odyssey's new controlsHe reports there are just a couple of bugs but they will be worked out soon. 

The Falcon

Mr. Daymont is working fast and furiously to get the Falcon up and running as a Mars Base for Tuesday's EdVenture Camp. Soren Seibach is working on new computer programs. 

I want all of you to know that these flight directors set the example of the volunteer spirit that drives this Space Center. None of them are paid for the work they do on their own ships. I can't imagine the countless hours they spend improving their ships both computer wise but 
also in appearance. Please don't ever think that the paid staff get paid for all the time they put in at the Center. In fact, the Center couldn't even afford to pay them for all the time they put in. This my friends is the volunteer spirit. It is what drives the Center. We all have a common love for space and the process of doing the simulations and the classes. I want all of you to know that I appreciate the hours all of you put in. Your dedication inspires me and has kept me energized for the 10 years I've been doing this. Thank you all so much! My dream of a Space Center has been realized because of all of you and rest assured that I know that! 

On Saturday I had the chance to attend a conference in Salt Lake City.This conference was for all of Utah's award winning teachers. This was a chance for us to talk to the people in charge of Utah's public education system. During the conference we all had a chance to tell 
people what was right with our schools. I sat at a table with teachers (one you might know - Pat Bown) and a state representative. I told them about the Center and what WE have accomplished. They were very interested. It really is a model of what schools can do with 
dedication teachers, staff, and volunteers. 

The overnight mission went well. There were several no shows so I closed the Falcon and gave Mr. Daymont and Mr. Schuler the time to develop the Falcon and have it ready for Tuesday. 

The Odyssey of 2001

I guess there were more power outages on Saturday. Both the Magellan and Odyssey suffered two outages during their private missions. I hope this isn't an omen of the way the summer is going to be. 

We are looking for someone that has an electrical gas powered generator. Someone had an excellent idea of what we could do in case the power went out during our missions. Stick the generator outside the gym doors, and plug in a VCR and our video projector and shows 
movies etc. until the power comes on. We need to find a family that has a generator and would let us use it or rent it for the summer.

Well troops, that was the week. A very busy week lies ahead. I'll be sleeping at the school 3 nights in a row! I haven't done that since we did back to back 48 hour camps a few years ago. This should prove interesting. Those of you coming to help this week will need to tell 
me if I begin looking like I'm loosing it. I better plan on keeping several cans of diet coke on hand to keep me going. 

Congratulations to Kendal Duclos for passing off the Voyager 2FX station. 

An Overnight Camp Birthday Celebration for Ryan Davis, Always done just before the Staff went to bed at 11:30 P.M. ish.

A very Happy Birthday to Bill Schuler. This was the first time we celebrated Bill's birthday in the 10 years he has worked here. Every summer Bill has always gone to work in Alaska or Canada as a tour guide for West Tours. This year he decided to stay here and work at the 
Center. Friday evening Lorraine made a cake and brought it for the before we go to bed snack on the overnighter. I called Bill up for the traditional "Happy Birthday" song - sung by the talented yet undiscovered Space Center Staff Chorus. After the heartfelt rendition 
I began moving the cake around so it would be more difficult for the birthday boy to blow out the candles. Bill took one large breath and blew out enough wind forcing the Salt Lake International Airport to redirect air traffic for 30 minutes. The hurricane that spewed from 
his lungs blew across the surface of the cake dislodging the whipped cream icing and sending it splattering all over my desk, the Space Binders, and my shirt! There was a silence then a gasp from the gathered staff then laughter. Needless to say, Lorraine had to remove a section of the icing before anyone would dare to eat the cake. 

Brady Young with a Lorraine Houston cake similar to the one Bill Blew All Over my Desk

So much for this week. 
All the Best.

A Report on the Space Center's First EdVentures Camp. Those Were the Days We Took 65 Campers on the 5 Day, 4 Night Overnight Camps.  Read About the Space Center's Best Mission Ever - Even Today - The Great Space Race.  No Ship Anywhere at Any Time has Come Close to This Mission.  Stitches Stitches and More Stitches. 

June 24, 2001

Note: This Journal is the official history of the Space Center and is written once weekly. 

Monday: June 18
A busy day for all. The ships all had private missions and I was busy getting everything ready for the first EdVenture Camp. Kyle Herring was working up to the last second before a scheduled private missions getting the Galileo's new engineering section installed and 

Tuesday: June 19
Day 1 for the EdVenture Camp. This is the longest camp run at the Center in 9 years. Our longest camp was a 5 day 4 night camp run 9 years ago. That camp was one of the highlights in the history of the Center. The mission was called "The Great Space Race," written over a kitchen table by Mr. Daymont, Mr. Schuler, Mr. Wall, and myself.

That 5 day mission included landing parties to Nazi Germany to me Werner VonBrown, an edventure with Galileo where the students mapped the solar system on parchment with quill pens, a landing party to a Paklid ship for a Paklid birthday party, and the most daring landing party ever done at the Center. We had minivans with their windows blacked out assemble by the outside gym doors. The Voyager needed to evacuated because its orbit was decaying. The kids ran through the transporter, through the gym, and outside to the waiting vans (shuttle craft), they were driven out of town and up American Fork Canyon to a 
camping spot off the beaten path. The campers got out of the vans (crashed on the surface) and inspected the area. They lit a fire and waited for the Voyager to contact them to come back. Not long after dark they heard rustling in the bushes. Out came a troop of Medieval
characters in costume. They were entertained in a very "Dark Ages" way.

The campers for the EdVenture Camp arrived at 8:00 A.M. There were signed in and then taken by bus to Thanksgiving Point for a tour and Imax show on racing cars. It was good. 

The Galley in the USS Voyager directly Under the Bridge. You can see into the Sick Bay and the bunks

After lunch the first simulator and class rotations began. Nothing to report until we had our first head wound. One of the boys in the Voyager was "play acting" a bit to much during an attack. He was down in the crew quarters pretending he was being thrown about by the 
torpedo explosions when he lost his footing and his head came in contact with a metal bed post. Thank goodness for Mr. Schuler. Bill took care of him so I could continue my mission. Then after lunch Bryson Lystrup was swinging (Vote Fishing) with the campers outside and didn't quite make a full flip as he jumped out of a swing. He landed on his neck. So, in the space of 1 rotation we had a neck injury and stitches.

The Voyager's Bridge Sleeping Quarters (and Second Sick Bay).  This Sleeping Area was Right Behind the Records/Science Station and the Security Station. 

Day 2:
Today started with class rotations. Mr. Daymont, Mrs. Remy, Mrs. Houston, and Mr. Olsen all take 13 students. At 10:00 A.M. those that wanted to go to PG pool and shower left by bus. Everyone else got ready for the field trip. I opened the gift shop but didn't sell much.
These campers just didn't have a lot of spending money with them. Those that did were waiting to spend at Hill Air Force Base and Hansen Planetarium. Too bad because we love kids leaving with nothing but memories. That means empty pockets in our registers! ;)

A special thank you to Dave Wall, Mark Daymont, and Bill Schuler for leading the tours at the museum. I know only enough about airplanes to keep me out of trouble. You know, I can put my the back of my seat up to an upright positions and I'm pretty good with a seatbelt. Mind you those airplane toilets are a bit tricky but you can manage if you are double jointed. 

Lunch was rushed. We quickly found a park to eat because the picnic tables at the museum aren't in shaded areas and lack trash cans. I guess that's their way of saying the tables are like the planes - looky but don't touchy.

The crew and staff were good about eating in 5 minutes and we were on our way to Hansen Planetarium. 

The star show was on the history of aviation. It was pretty good but the discussion on the bus afterwords centered on the fact that a planetarium should stick with what they do best - stars and astronomy.

As we were rounding the Point of the Mountain the discussion turned to the upcoming class session. None of the teachers were in the mood to take the kids right off the bus and put them back in a class session. I suggested we stall a bit by stopping at a grocery store. Then we imagined how long it would take to get them out and vetoed that idea. Just then there was a warning sound from the bus drivers console. The engine had overheated. She slowed down and pulled on the margin and coasted to a Texaco Station near Thanksgiving Point. Fortuna had struck again. The teachers would get more of a break and the idea I had about a grocery store stop would come true. The bus driver called for another bus and the 65 of us hit that convenience store like a hurricane. 

Day 3:
Two class rotations today. Nothing to report until just before we were to load the bus to go to Orem Recreation Center for a sack supper and swimming. One of the boys in the camp was horsing around on the stage and fell over. Yes, another head injury. The adults got the bleeding under control and we left. I got hold of the mother. She requested we take him to an emergency room for stitches. A Thank You to Mr. Daymont for taking care of that for me. Do you realize that in the 10 years we have been open we have only had 4 kids that have needed stitches? Two from 1990 to 2001 and 2 on this camp alone!

The indoor pool was just how I remember - hot and sticky. The only highlight beside the stiches was my getting focused on a few boys in the entryway of the Center. They were making fun of some of our campers as they left the pool and went to the bus. I chewed them out and the teenager with them for not controlling their mouths.

Dave Wall was waiting for us back at the school. It was video night!  Thanks Dave for helping out and James Porter for helping as well. We had our usual videos - Thumb Wars, Wallace and Gromit, and Gas Planet.

Day 4
The last day of camp. Two small rotations and a class with Jennifer Remy where the students built and launched paper rockets. The camp ended at 1:00 P.M. We were all tired.

Bryson Lystrup Being Honored at Honor's Night.  A Young James Porter is Seated by the Magellan's Door Wearing his Flight Director Greens.


Mr Williamson's Birthday

June 25, 2001

Hello Troops,
Thank you for the kind cards, email greetings, goodies, clothes, swords, and warm thoughts on my recent age marker. 

I've turned another year older and managed to keep death off my doorstep. A major accomplishment considering the attempts it has made to drag me away over the many years. 

Every once in awhile in the dark of night when the calm is interrupted by the sound of rustling leaves and the bark of the neighbor's dog - I can hear the sound of robes brushing against my outside deck. Once I caught a glimpse of the Reaper's boney finger against the glass. The index finger curling forward and back, an invitation to step out and join him 
on that "long goodnight". My rational mind attributes the experience to a piece of undercooked potato. My superstitious mind, a leftover from childhood, sends panic on a journey up and down my spine accompanied by his comrades chills and cold sweat.

With armor crafted of flannel clutched tightly under chin I search for the memory of whether the deck door was fastened tightly before bed. Tis hopeless - memory has retreated behind the automatic drive to breath. Too frightened to leave the false security of the bed I curl 
and wait for the coming dawn and the start of a new day. 

Thank you all once again for kindness not deserved.


The Imaginarium