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

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Fright Flights at the Space Center. The Shadow Returned. Blood in the Halls. Phaser Duels. Don't Know Who Had More Fun - The Staff or the Crew. Orion Bowers, Galileo's New Flight Director. Audrey's Awesome Pumpkin. Marissa's Birthday. Imaginarium Theater.

Shadows on the Magellan Told as Part of Fright Flights. 
Ah, the Shadow makes an appearance sending the crew scurrying for safety

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center Turns Dark and Spooky with the Introduction of Fright Flights.  A New Halloween Tradition

     Halloween is one of those non holiday holidays which perfectly matches our fleet of starship simulators.  Don't we include a fright or two in nearly every mission we tell?  What about those mission written solely to scare the pants off a crew?  My point exactly, Halloween and the simulators are a match made in that dark and scary place.
     Friday night was the first annual Fright Flights at the CMSC.  I would have stopped by to judge the scarryness myself if I'd remembered. Thankfully The Troubadour has Audrey Hendrickson, our on site reporter, who captured a few of the frights for everyone to enjoy.  Many of the photos in today's post were taken by Audrey. Thank you and thank you. 

Friday Night Fright Flights:  Youth Missions

The Odyssey

The Odyssey bridge air handler. Something wicked that way came.

       The Odyssey's Fright Flight found the crew doing a lot of running for their lives when a parasitical nasty nope decided to leave a trail of bodies for the crew to find on their way out of their away mission. Little did they know what was waiting for them in the air vent when they got back to the bridge.  Classic Space Center!  

The Phoenix


     Meanwhile, the Phoenix crew had a secret meeting with Amice (Jordan Smith) before they were unceremoniously interrupted by by a band of miscreants. A shootout ensued up and down the hallway. Many brave youngling cadets officers suffered phaser wounds as they courageously fought their way back to the ship. Their Doctor William (JJ M.) revived those who had been stunned. 

      Later in the mission Dr. William was carted off by another creature from the black lagoon while on another Phoenix away mission. All that was left showed his heroic struggle as the creature dragged him away. 

     Nice bloody floor addition. I think I would have added another alien from the dark world Vampiere, found on all fours licking the remains from the tile. Gruesome yes?  I'm sure a few of the Younglings would be in counseling after seeing such a horrid thing. 

The Magellan

     The Magellan told "Shadows" an old tried and true mission I wrote back in 2002.  Shadows is set after the Great Borg War, my addition to Star Trek lore. In the story, Orion Pirates who share a sick sense of humor, attack the ship and attempt to take the bridge. Many duels took place in the Gym, which was well dressed up in pirate attire. 

The Shadow visits the Magellan Control Room. Many were touched, but few were chosen.....
I had to say it.  No one else would.

     Many crew members were shot because of malfunctioning phasers.  Magellan engineer Alastair (Orion Bowers) stood up to the pirates as a matter of honor and was promptly shot in retaliation as any self respecting pirate would do. 

     Flight Director Connor, showing his true colors, decided to accessorize with the Pirate colors in the Control room. Later in the mission, for reasons those who've done Shadows know all too well, the Magellan lost all power, and was boarded by a mysterious shadow (Orion) who went on to "touch" crew members.

The Shadow on the Magellan doing his worst.

     Orion (the Shadow) somehow managed to kill Engineer Alastair (also Orion).  The crew held a funeral for their fallen engineer with much wailing and crying.  Several beautiful eulogies were given. 

     The shadow chased them around the bridge several times before the crew figured out how to get rid of it. Many of the bridge crew were touched, but due to their quick thinking doctor, none of the bridge crew were permanently lost. Tyler G. was himself so exhausted from saving so many lives that he took a quick break in Discovery before the funeral. 


      Fright Flights was a success all around.  Saturday night will see it all happen again except Saturday's simulators will be staffed with adults only.  Watch out volunteers and staff.  Frightened adults can be dangerous.  Once we had a rather large woman body slam one of my Shadows in the Voyager. He lived to tell the tale but will forever remember the struggle to breath. 

Saturday Night Fright Flights:  Adult Missions

The Magellan

     Just how many people can you squeeze into the Magellan Control Room? I think the CMSC staff tried to set the record Saturday night for the Fright Flights Magellan mission. With Flight Director Connor and Second Chair Mr. Porter it looked like the adult Magellan crew had the dream team working for them.  Audrey Hendricksen, the Troubadour's reported on the spot, reports the number at 11.  A volunteer or two ducked down as the picture was taken, afraid to be photographed in the company of such villainous slime. 
     Not wanting to criticize the current Space Center administration, but I feel it my duty to kindly point out a safety violation to avoid a potentially dangerous situation which could lead to loss of life or limb. Notice the careless handling of the phaser by the volunteer sitting directly behind the flight staff. Notice it pointing in the general direction of the Director, Mr. Porter. Notice the finger on the trigger. I'm guessing the phaser's safety is switched to off.  Notice the volunteer working on something stuck in his nose. All it would take is one unfortunate nose hair plucked out with the offending crusted nasal mass to cause the volunteer to slightly jerk. That jerking motion would cause the trigger finger to twitch, thus firing the phaser.  A sad day indeed. 
     I'm proposing Mr. Porter take the care of phaser arms more seriously.  A phaser arms safety course should be instituted immediately for all current staff and volunteers.   

     The CMSC's in house battalion of certified Space Pirates took the bridge, and being the good sports they are, chose not to stun the crew straight away. Instead the crew was challenged to a series of duels held in the gym. 
     Honoring the greatest duels of the past, the pirates chose the back to back and several paces duel. The fastest draw won.  

     As you can see from the picture above, the crew had troubles dispatching the pirates due to malfunctioning phasers: the Space Center's phasers have never been reliable. It should also be pointed out that the volunteers and staff get first selection of weapons. The best of the lot go to them, leaving the unreliable blasters for the crew. 
     Another cause for the carnage seen in the photo above could be pirate annoyance with the crew.  Expect a barrage of phaser power if you ignore the staff "call".  A "You're Down!" shouted by a member of staff means you are stunned and expected to drop to the floor. By all means go down with style.  Give everyone watching an Academy Award winning performance, but be in good form and please go down.   

   The Magellan crew crawled their way back to the Discovery Room once they escaped from the distracted pirates. Discovery was set up as deck 2 engineering, complete with a medical area for triage. Dr. Nathan Young had to heal at least half of them so they could attempt to liberate the ship's bridge.

The Discovery Room: Engineering and emergency sick bay
     The Magellan crew had three eager engineering characters who helped them through the mission. Unfortunately Tyler G. met death from the shadow. Lissa E. and Cecily H. managed to survive for a while before being assimilated into the Borg mind. 
    The Magellan crew was treated to a level 3 mission with little to no training and very little staff help. They can be proud of their victory because it was all them. The only time they had a bridge officer was for calling shots.
     Overall the camps were successful. The adults were scared at the right points of each mission. Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Odyssey, Magellan, and Phoenix for a successful first every Fright Flights!
    Once again I want to thank our Troubadour on the scene, Audrey Hendricksen, for sending the pictures and descriptions. Her reporting will keep you in the know of CMSC events. 
     Finally, Audrey sent  some quotes from the crew and staff from both nights of Fright Flights.

Mr. Williamson

Galileo Set Director Erin Williams Welcomes Orion Bowers into the International Society of Flight Directors.  Orion Has His Flight Director's Shirt and will be Entrusted with the Lives of Hundreds of Thrill Seeking Younglings on the Galileo.

Orion Receiving his Flight Director Blues from Galileo Set Director Erin Williams

     Orion Bowers was officially welcomed into the third most prestigious club in the Space EdVentures World. He is now a flight director. The second most prestigious club is Set Director and the first is Center Director of course.  

Orion was so happy he did a jig up and down the hall to show off his new colors
Orion and Erin in Mr. Porter's office where Orion took the official oath of a flight director and was
duly given not only the shirt, but the sugar that goes with the promotion.

Orion received his Galileo pin from Erin in August 2016. Two years after that and he's now a Galileo Flight Director.
     Orion started as a Voyager Club cadet back in the day. From there he started volunteering at the Space Center. He is an example of how far someone can go with a bit of drive, grit, and stick to it ness. 

Orion in character as the Magellan doctor

     Congratulations on your promotion Orion. You deserve it and will make an excellent flight director. 

Mr. Williamson

The Space Center Enters Another Audrey Masterpiece in Central Elementary School's Pumpkin Decorating Contest

     Another Halloween is fast approaching and that means another amazing entry by the Space Center's very own Audrey in behalf of the Space Center for the school's library pumpkin contest. The theme this year was "Adventures" and since the Space Center does the best EdVentures, you can safely bet on who will win. Right? 

Marissa Ohran Celebrated her 22nd Birthday.  Another Christa McAuliffe Space Center Outstanding Member of Staff

     On behalf of the everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Marissa and flying as a crew member on one of her missions, we all want to say "Happy Birthday!".  Marissa has been a part of the CMSC for many years. She is loved by her co-workers and always brings a positive attitude with her to work. 
     And for the tenth time Marissa, I apologize of forgetting your name a few months back. Don't judge me too harshly. I can't remember all my student's names and even struggle at times remembering the name of my own assistant director at the Space Academy.  I think his name starts with a B. It will come to me given enough time. 

Mr. W. 

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

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Welcome St. George into the Expanding List of Communities Hosting InfiniD Lab Experiential Simulators. 60,000 - 70,000 Students Experience the Simulators Monthly! Welcome a New Flight Director. From the Archives: We are Better Than Disneyland! Honors Night 2002 With Pictures. Space and Science News. Imaginarium Theater.

Diamond Valley Elementary School in St. George, Utah Proudly Opens its InfiniD Lab Experiential Simulator
The List of InfiniD Lab Simulators Grows Every Month

The Troubadour welcomes Diamond Valley Elementary School in St. George into the growing network of schools that house experiential learning simulators inspired by the original USS Voyager.  This new computer lab / simulator takes the official number of simulators both past and present to 63.  

Are you curious about InfiniD?  Did you think there were only a small handful of starship simulators at a few local Utah schools: The Christa McAuliffe Space Center, The Telos Discovery Space Centers, Renaissance Space Academy, The Lion's Gate?  If so, you are mistaken. 

InfiniD is the world's fastest growing network of school based, computer lab simulators committed to continuing the vision of simulator based experiential education pioneered in my 6th grade classroom back in 1983 and fine tuned and expanded with the building of Simulator 1 the USS Voyager in 1990. This upcoming school year between 60,000 - 70,000 students across Utah will have monthly experiences in an InfiniD Lab.

To summarize; InfinD's mission is to provide every school world wide with an experiential simulator of their own. That's a big goal and they're determined to make it so. 

Take a moment and learn more about the future of education with InfiniD.  

Add Jensen Caldwell in the Hyperion Control Room Flight Directing his Qualifying Mission to
Earn His Flight Director Certification

Jensen Caldwell Earns His Flight Director's Certification.  Another Example of a MultiCenter Employee. Congratulations.

Jensen Caldwell is an example of a volunteer who worked mission after mission to fight and claw his way to a Supervisor position on the Starship Voyager and then onward to become a Flight Director on the Hyperion at Telos Discovery Space Center.  

Isaac Ostler congratulating Jensen on become a Voyager Supervisor.
August 2017
Jensen was recently awarded his Flight Director Certification by Dr. Ryan Anderson from the Telos Discovery Space Center after a well run mission on the Hyperion.  

Dr. Anderson welcoming Jensen in the Telos Family and into the
Farpoint Fellowship on the bridge of the Hyperion.

Jensen joins Maeson Busk, Sydney Brown, Nathan King, Parriss King, and Spencer Baird as a multi-center employee. In addition to flight directing at Telos DSC, Jensen will continue to work as a Supervisor (soon to be Flight Director) at the Space Academy at Renaissance in addition to his work at Telos DSC. 

Congratulations Jensen, and now honor the Flight Director's Pledge. 

The First Ship Voyager

The Flight Director's Pledge

I pledge to honor the example and craftsmanship of those who've come before. I pledge to do my best to care for my staff, volunteers, and crew. I promise to lead and guide my crews through their adventures by adhering to the mission's goals and objectives as given to me by my director. I promise to continually learn and improve upon my craft. I pledge to return my crews to the here and now with lasting memories of their adventure, my characters and skilled flightsmanship.  I will honor the pioneering spirit of first ship Voyager, and will continue to do so with every mission I direct until I surrender my microphone to those who will follow.

Mr. Williamson

The Voyager Crew lined up to be Transported to the ship via the stage transporter.
July 2007 Summer Overnight Camps

From the Archives.  The Best Posts from Space Center History, December 2002.  

The CMSEC - "Just Who Are You People?" Of Course We Are Better than Disneyland.

December 6, 2002
Hello Troops,
I like to pass along comments that come to me from our Patrons. Yesterday I received a phone call from a curious mother.  "Space Center," I answered.
"Hello, my son recently attended one of your field trips from Meadow Elementary and came home telling us some pretty interesting things. Just who are you people!?"

I didn't know if this was going to be a positive or negative phone call
so I thought I'd dig deeper into what the boy said.

The Magellan Crew. Bathroom break is finished. They're getting final instructions before
entering the Discovery Room for their mission briefing.

"What did he say about us?" I asked.
"Well.... he wouldn't shut up. All night all we heard was this and that about the Space Center.
He said repeatedly that it was better than Disneyland any day! Now we spent a lot of money on Disneyland so I'm bewildered what could be right here in Utah County that a kid would think is better than Disneyland!"

We had a good conversation.

Thank you to all for the hard work and dedication. That compliment was directed to all of us. We make a great team. Thanks!

Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center
"The Happiest Place on Earth!"
(at 1/100,000 the price)

Mr. Williamson

The Magellan Crew in rapture after hearing of their daring mission into the unknown.
Summer Overnight Camps. July 2007

James Porter Updates Us on the USS Pathfinder in Logan
December 9, 2002

The Pathfinder is off to a good start. We ran a great mission this last Saturday and
it is looking better and better. Dave Wall is working towards getting a school program going, hopefully some time in January. It is good to see that the space center is still active, I hadn't seen a Journal or any grammar wars for a while. I wish I could come
down and visit during a mission sometime to see you all again. 

You are all very lucky to be working with a great man, Victor Williamson. Watch and learn from him, he will always be there to help you. . . unless you aren't keeping up with your grades, then you'll be OUT. `8~)

-James Porter

The Odyssey's Front Bridge. The Captain is reading up on her responsibilities.
Summer Overnight Camps. July 2007

Space Center Journal: My Review of Star Trek Nemesis. Those Honored in the December Honor's Night. We Say Goodbye to Retired Volunteers and Staff. Several are Promoted to Five Bars.  New Set Directors Announced. Salt Lake Community College Professors Visit with Interest in a Challenger Center.  Think About the Summer Missions 

December 15, 2002

Yesterday I went to see Star Trek Nemesis. I think many of our Center staff and volunteers will enjoy the film. Watching movies like this gives us a chance to recharge our creative batteries. I left the theater with ideas for future missions. I encourage you to see the film.

There have been a few bits of news since I wrote last. 

1. As I mentioned above, Nemesis is in the Theaters. 

The Odyssey's Back Quarters.  You can see the entrance to the Engineering Pod.
That hatchway caused more bleeding than any other set piece at the Center.

2. We celebrated our staff's accomplishments during Honor's Night on December 4th. Several of our staff earned patches, pillowcases, and blankets. We honored Landon Hemsley, Julie Collette, and Alex Debirk for making 5 bars. All three are Flight Directors and doing very well. Landon is in the Odyssey. Alex and Julie are both running the Galileo. During the meeting we awarded the Silver Pin for one year of service to a few of 
our volunteers. If my memory is correct we advanced around ten Explorers to Pioneers. 

Of course, there are always the retirements that make up the sad segment of the program. Bryce Redd was honored and retired. Bryce was a great worker who did his job and knew how to care for our customers. I'll miss his personality and the debates. Good Luck to you Bryce!

The Odyssey Crew's final photo before blast off.
Summer Overnight Camps. July 2007

We were delighted to learn that Charlie Heaton is going to wait to retire for a few months. He told me his schedule wasn't as busy as he thought it would be for this next semester. 

We will retire Jason Hills next month. His entrance into the MTC was postponed for one month to clear up a health problem. 

The turn out at Honor's Night was incredible. We held the event in Magellan's Situation Room. I thought it would be plenty big enough for normal crowd. I don't know how we did it but we got over fifty people in there. Mr. Daymont rushed out to buy more refreshments. Thank you to all that came - especially our old timers, Jason Hills, Allan Stewart, and Dave Wall. 

What's This?  The Galileo Crew crammed into the Phoenix with the Phoenix Crew?
Must be some super top secret mission.  Summer Overnight Camps. July 2007

3. I got a letter from Josh Webb in the MTC. He is doing fine and says hello to all of you. He leaves for Argentina at the end of December. Please remember both Josh and Steven in your thoughts and prayers. They are both outstanding young men and members of our Space Center family. 

4. Allan Stewart and James Porter dropped by and helped us during Friday night's camp. Both are doing well. It was good to see them. The invitation is always there for any of you "old timers" to come and participate in any of our overnight camps. If you only have a few minutes please do not hesitate to stop by and say hello. The time you spent at the Center has purchased you lifetime membership! Also, don't forget that reactivation clause in your contract ;)

The goofy but brave Magellan Crew.  15 of them on this Overnight Camp.
It took great staffing to keep 15 busy and happy.  Great Staff. Great Volunteers.

5. There are some changes in our staffing. Bill Schuler has become the Set Director for the Falcon. Stacy Carroll. will be promoted to a five bar Ranger at the next Honor's Night. She will run the Falcon on the overnight missions with Bill has her second chair. Bill will supervise the Galileo as well during the camps. 

Mark Daymont has been reassigned to work with Kyle Herring in the Magellan. Mark will learn to operate the Magellan with the ultimate goal of becoming another Magellan Flight Director. Kyle will remain in his position as Magellan Set Director. This move for Mark is necessary because of Kyle's schedule. Kyle has no problem with the overnight camps but will not be able to run the Magellan during the summer because of his businesses. Kyle is a busy person. I'm happy he is able to give us the time he does. I assure you it is not for the money. Kyle has been and is dedicated to the program and gives the 
Center the time he can spare. 

The Voyager Crew Couldn't Let the Magellanites Have all the Fun

6. I will be looking for new flight director trainees for the Galileo. We must be prepared in the event that Julie and Alex both go to college outside Utah County. Training will take months. Luckily we are covered until the end of the summer season. 

7. The Space Center will host a delegation of professors and deans from Salt Lake Community College the first week of January. SLCC is looking into building a Challenger Center on their main campus. A Challenger Center is similar to our Space Center. It usually has a classroom, a mission control room, and a simulator. Their mission are 
science based with no action or music. I say that not to criticize their program. What they do is fantastic! It is just different. Both approaches work successfully with children. 

The off to bed popsicle. Its a bit after 11:00 P.M. The kids are winding down before bed and lights out.
Is that Mr. Williamson in the background cleaning up before assigning sleeping quarters.

The SLCC people called and said they heard about our Center from many people. A member of the Granite School Board told them that they would be fools to continue exploring the Challenger option until they visited us to see what we are doing. 

I see them building a Challenger Center. Having one in the valley will be beneficial to the children of Utah. I see them coming to pay us a visit to learn about this program but to scout out possibilities for partnerships. We would use their facility for our summer camps and they would use us to help them establish an energetic Utah friendly program.

8. I'm starting to work on the summer schedule. I should have it ready to post within a few weeks. I'm warning all Set Directors to have their summer stories moved from the back of their brains to the front. I would like to have all summer stories written and ready for 
review by the end of January. I want the summer stories ready to be tested during April and May's overnighters. The Voyager will go first and run its new mission the first weekend of April. The other Directors will announce their first runs as we draw closer to the month.

It's morning. The campers are getting their traditional Space Center breakfast. You can tell it is a 3 day
Overnight Camp because of how nicely everything is set out (the fruit is in bowls and not being served
out of the plastic WalMart bags).  You can tell Aleta is on duty.

I know I say this all the time but you folks are fantastic! I'm amazed that you take your personal time and come here and help us with the missions. I'm honored that you respect this program enough to make it a part of your life. I know that if this program had been around when I was a teenage in South Dakota I would have been a volunteer. I would 
be the one that never went home; so I understand why you enjoy it. It is rewarding and humbling for me to associate with such outstanding young men and women. Thank you and please thank your parents for their time and gas to get you here and home. 

Be Good, eat your vegetables, get plenty of rest, and enjoy this holiday season. I'll see many of you soon.

Mr. Williamson

Space and Science News at a Glance

Curiosity Rover Is Back to Limited Science Operations on Mars - Gizmodo
     Welcome back little rover. It was a pretty nasty planet wide dust storm.

Cosmologist Martin Rees gives humanity a 50-50 chance of surviving the 21st century - Vox
     Why we can't learn to live together in peace and care for the planet?  
     I believe caring for our little blue marble in space transcends politics and religion. 

Code hidden in Stone Age art may be the root of human writing | New Scientist 
     A fascinating article delving into the very core of human written expression.

A new dwarf planet nicknamed 'The Goblin' has been discovered within our solar system
     And there are a lot more out there, no doubt about it.  

Time Travel Illusions Created by Scientists - Newsweek
     If it was possible, where would you go and why?  

     Mercury here we come. Expect to learn great things from this spacecraft.

Scientists Finally Have Direct Proof That the Earth's Core Is Solid - Newsweek
      That's not what I was taught in school, but then we believed the world was flat
      back then as well.

Why America Must Build the Space Launch System - The National Interest
     America's next generation rocket is awesome. The most powerful rocket ever built.
    We're heading back into space with a rocket of our own. No more hitching rides on the
    Russian Soyuz. 

Imaginarium Theater
The Best Gifs From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience