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

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Victor Williamson's First Simulator was NOT the Voyager. See the First Simulator at Central School (1987-89) and Can You Guess Where it Was? Also, Megan Warner's Photos of the Space Center's Williamson Era and Posts from the Archives: Cause and Effect: Lorraine's Car Accident

      This will surprise those of you of think the USS Voyager was the first simulator I created. The Voyager was the ship I built for the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center but not Central Elementary School's first simulator. There was a simulator BEFORE the Voyager.  I'm not talking about my classroom or the school's gym, both of which were used as the bridge of our imaginary starship in the 1980's. I'm talking about the Pegasus, a real honest to goodness simulator build with old school equipment and a few odds and ends I found at the local Radio Shack.  
     Sadly I don't have pictures of the interior of the Pegasus but was lucky to find this photo (above) of the entrance.  Can you tell where the ship was located inside Central Elementary?  Even today you'll see some of the simulator's blue paint from 1987 exposed where the current paint has been scratched away over the years.  
     The Pegasus was very small, about the same square footage as the current Galileo. We used the simulator as a ship and a Young Astronauts club room.  I was the leader of Young Astronauts Chapter 7534, one of the nation's top 10 Young Astronaut Chapters.  My chapter was selected to represent the United States at four international space events: The first International Young Astronauts / Young Cosmonauts Conference is Japan, the third International Young Astronauts / Young Cosmonauts Conference is Korea, the Young Astronauts / Young Cosmonauts International Space Camp at Novosibirsk in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russia). We also represented the United States at the 30th Anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's first mission to Space held at the Russian Spaceport Baikonur in Kazakhstan. 
     The Pegasus was a a space shuttle, not a Star Trek ship. We didn't have computers so I improvised.  I had a book titled "The Space Shuttle Handbook" which had the schematics of the Space Shuttle's button and read out panels. Using the school's photocopy machine, I enlarged the drawings, cut them out, pasted them on cardboard, and created the flight deck of a space shuttle in the room. The handbook had the dialog and checklist used by the astronauts for launches and landings.  Affordable cameras were non-existent in those days so I couldn't see what the cadets were doing. I could hear them through the door because the mission control room was the hallway (where you see the drinking fountain). The Young Astronauts used a Radio Shack two way home intercom system to call mission control.  It was simple but did the job.   
     The Young Astronauts booked flight time in the Pegasus. They received points for how well they followed correct steps in launching and landing the Pegasus.  They had a TV for special effects taken from a large laser disc of Space Shuttle launches and landings. I couldn't control the effects from the outside so they played them at the right time and on cue from mission control. The Pegasus was dismantled in 1990 when the Voyager was built. It served its purpose well.
Mr. Williamson

From the Historical Archives of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. Stories from the First Blog and Photos

Mr. Williamson testing an old school headset from the 1960's to see if it would work in the Simulators.

February 5, 2003.  A Tribute to Mr. Williamson by James Porter from the Cold North of Logan.

     Just last night I had the misfortune of coughing for the majority of the night and couldn't sleep. I did happen to turn on the tv and see old Vic on the television. A job well done indeed, you always had a touch for the choice words. As I was resting for a test today, I should have been studying, I heard a radio segment that put together different talks about
the Columbia shuttle. With all of this put together I of course started to think of the center.

Mr. Mark Daymont peering over his computer in the Magellan Control Room

     In thinking of the center I thought of the progress that I have been lucky enough to see over the five years that I volunteered. I put together in my mind all of the things that went into putting the centers program together. For the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to work on getting the Pathfinder program ready for a school program. It takes a lot of
work to get everything ready, and for me I had five years of experience to back me up. 

     Mr. Williamson built up a program from scratch that has become one of the gems of Utah. Students from all over have the common experience of flying on the voyager or other
ships. None of this would be possible without Mr. Williamson's dedicated work. 

Stephen and James Porter  in the Voyager Control Room

     I realize that I am babbling on in some sense, but I guess it is sort of a difficult thing to think of. Several people have been speaking of how the space program should continue even after such a great loss. I think we should all be very thankful that nothing has stopped Mr. Williamson.
     Not to my knowledge can I think of a mission missed do to sickness or injury. Sure I have seen many aspirins cushioning the mission, but Mr. Williamson comes no matter what. I can't even imagine what would happen to the program if something happened to Mr.
Williamson (Knock on wood). Since I am so far away and am not able to give him a pat on the back and a kind word, I hope all of you will take the time to do so. Thanks Mr. Williamson for always being there to teach and inspire.

-James Porter

Boy oh boy it sure got cold fast. 7 degrees F.

The Overnight Camps of the Space Center's Williamson Era.
Staff slept anywhere they could find a dark, quiet spot - like the old Galileo.

February 7, 2003.  Megan Warner Tops James Porter's Tribute with One of Her Own.

Hi All!
     I know I just posted, but as I got down the list of my emails and read James' post, I just had to put in my 2 cents. I totally agree with you, James. Mr. Williamson, you're the coolest! I was there when he got interviewed for tv, but although I stayed up till 11:30 watching news, I never got to see it on the screen. I saw Mr. Daymont, though. Way to go!  

A Magellan creature played well

     Anyway, as I sat in the Briefing Room, listening to his responses to the questions the reporter asked him, I realized how much love Mr. Williamson must have for his job. I mean, although some of us go a lot, only Mr. Williamson is there for hours on end every day, putting together missions and talking to teachers and stuff. What dedication! What service! What thoughtless love! Like I said, you are the coolest, Mr. Williamson. I know I'm getting kind of redundant, but I have a new point. Who is also the only one of us that talks to every single camper at every camp we do? I know a lot of people, especially in the summer, try to talk to everyone (especially the girls. *cough*Randy*cough* ;}) Oops, sorry, I had something in my cyber throat there. As I was saying, some of us make a real effort to talk to all the campers, 
     I believe our awesome 'boss' is the only one who actually does. 

Three cheers for Mr. Williamson!


Space Center Journal: February 9, 2003
Cause and Effect.  Lorraine Houston in a Car Accident. Also, Large Classes in the Simulators. Another Power Outage Hits at the Perfect Time for Stazi (Midnight Rescue).

Hello Troops,
I'm struck by the irony of life. The longer you live the more of life's lesson you learn. One of these is the principle of "Cause and Effect". I'll use an example to provide a definition. 

Cause and Effect:

Yesterday (Saturday) the Space Center phone rang. I answered hearing Lorraine's (Mrs. Houston) voice on the other end. "Victor, I'm calling to let you know that I may not be coming in on Monday. I was in a traffic accident on my way home from the Space Center this 
morning." Last Saturday Lorraine gave me the news of the ColumbiaThis Saturday, news of another accident, only this one much closer to home. 

The Overnight Camps of the Williamson Era.  The staff and volunteers are enjoying their traditional ice cream and
game of cards before heading off to bed. The campers are all in their sleeping quarters.
This would have been around 11:45 P.M.

Lorraine left the school around 7:45 A.M. her chaperone duties fulfilled. On the way home she was hit by a 16 year old driving his parent's car with his 14 year old sister. They were on their way to do baptisms for the dead. In his hurry, the teen neglected to adequately clear the frost off his windshield. He turned into Lorraine's lane striking her van on the driver's side. Luckily for Lorraine it was directly behind the driver's door. The van was thrown several yards and nearly rolled. Lorraine told me she wasn't hurt just shaken up. I encouraged her to go directly to the emergency room for a check up. The van's side was messed up badly to the tune of several thousands of dollars to repair. 

Lorraine is doing fine. She says there are no injuries - just stiffness and the odd bout of dizziness. You all know how important Lorraine is here at the Center. She makes my life easier. She takes it upon herself to provide the pillowcases and blankets for our volunteers. She takes great pride in her baking and is sure to have birthday cakes on hand for every staff and volunteer birthday celebrated during the overnight camps. She is an example of everything a good employee should be! 

The Overnight Camps of the Williamson Era
Lorraine chaperoned the female campers, staff, and volunteers on most of the overnight and summer camps.

The Cause and Effect of this story:
1. The cooperating teacher at ******* Elementary School was to have her school's overnight student list to me by Wednesday. That would give me enough time to fill up any open slots from students on the Waiting List. We lose money if we run a camp without the full 43 students. The teacher forgot to call and left it until Friday morning. Her message on my answering machine said Barratt would be sending 30 students.

I didn't have time to fill the missing 13 slots so I closed the Falcon giving Lorraine and Stacy the night and morning off. Instead of coming to work at 7:30 P.M. Lorraine came in at 11:00 P.M. to chaperon. Instead of leaving at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, she left at 7:45 A.M. 
which placed her in the path of that 16 year old driver. 

Just one of the many mascots that populate Space EdVenture Simulators Everywhere.  This Jabillo, adopted by
Megan and Bridger and put to work making everyone's day better.

Because one person forgot to make a call on a Wednesday we had an accident on Saturday. 

I'm struck by the interdependency we have with each other. You may think that the only real people that have any influence on your life are family and close friends. That couldn't be further than the truth!  Each day trillions of decisions are made around the world by humans.  Each decision has consequences - both good and bad; some minor, others 
potentially major. Each one could affect the lives of other, some you know and others you may never know. It makes one feel like a feather being swept in the wind of a storm.

We map out our lives assuming there will be no upsets and detours along the way. There is a false sense of security telling us that we are the masters of our own fate until that car runs the stop sign and you learn a secret of life. Actions have consequences. Your decisions 
affect your life and may very well affect multiple others. 

Bracken Funk learning to fly the old Galileo under the watchful eye of the Galileo's Set Director, Stacy Carrell

OK life - I see the lesson. I've learned that there are times I should take a bit more time and think when I make decisions. I've learned that all actions have consequences and they should be thought out before making the final choice. I've learned that what I say and what 
I do can influence others. I've learned that your decisions and actions can influence my life so I also hope you make good choices thinking of others! 

Cause and Effect - A major lesson to be learned either the hard or easy way during this existence. The way you learn it may not be up to you. 

We've had a rough week here at Central. There were SEP conferences on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was the school's science fair. The cafeteria and gym were closed from 11:30 on. The afternoon class couldn't have their planetarium show. We also had to feed the morning class in the Situation Room. Friday was just one of those days!

We've been hit with very large classes lately. On Monday and Tuesday Eaglecrest brought between 32 - 34 students each. It makes it very difficult trying to operate with the Galileo at times! I just got off the phone with a teacher informing me they are bringing 35 students per 
class next week. How do they expect excellence in education when kids are stacked so deep? 

The Great Fish Himself. Do you love the Phoenix, Galileo, and Magellan?
David Kyle Herring oversaw the design and construction of each of those ships.

Tuesday was another interesting day. The power went out throughout most of Utah County. We were in the middle of the Stazi mission and blink - out went the lights. It happened at a good time. I was harassing the Ambassador and told him that he would be punished and 
then ` BANG, he lights went out. The kids thought it was part of the mission. We ushered both classes into the cafeteria to eat a very early lunch and then into the gym. The phones were dead so I drove to the bus garage and arranged a bus to take them back to Lehi. There were some very sad faces leaving the Space Center that day. We will arrange another date for them next week. 

Hey, I did Greenpeace again on the overnighter. I'm doing well. Missions are never forgotten if you rotate them in and out on a regular basis. 

We celebrated Mike Nelson's birthday on the overnighter. Happy 13th Mike!  Everyone will want to also wish Alex DeBirk a Happy 18th Birthday. Sunday Alex became legal!!!!!

Enough for now.

Be Good and don't let life Bite!

Mr. Williamson

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Santa Credits the Space Academy's Young Coders for A Successful Christmas Despite the Government Shutdown. The Imaginarium.

Renaissance Space Academy's Intermediate Coders sent this picture to Santa after
delivering a picture perfect Christmas. 

      Gloom spread over Santa's workshop the evening of December 22nd as word of the United States Government shutdown reached the North Pole by carrier penguin. Because of the shutdown, Santa wouldn't have access to information from the United States Space Command; information Santa relies on to track weather systems and potential midair hazards like jets, helicopters, blimps, and drones.  
     At an emergency meeting held around Santa's kitchen table over spiced eggnog and festive confections hot out of Mrs. Claus's oven, Santa and his chief elves brainstormed alternatives.  Who could they trust to get them safely from home to home around the world? Who could they trust to reroute passenger, cargo, private, and military aircraft to avoid a tragic metal on reindeer encounter?  The British? With Brexit on the horizon there was a fear of unstaffed facilities at the British Defense Office.  The French wouldn't consider working overtime. The Germans didn't have the skills necessary for such a complex task.  The Chinese don't believe in Santa and the Russians celebrate Christmas in January. 
     "All is lost, raise your hands if you vote to cancel Christmas." Santa's question dropped onto the table with a thud. There was pause followed by a small voice.
     "Wait, I think I know a way to deliver Christmas safely." All eyes turned to the littlest elf.  "What about the Space Academy?"  
     Santa shot out of his seat sending his chair flying back into Mrs. Claus's ironing board. "The Space Academy!  Why didn't I think of that?" 
     The text asking for emergency assistance appeared on my phone late into the night on December 22nd from North Pole Telecommunications.  "Be informed," it read, "that Santa is in need of the Academy's Young Coders to make Christmas a reality for the children worldwide."  The rest of the text explained the situation. 
     By early morning, December 23rd, I had Renaissance Space Academy's Intermediate Young Coders Club in my classroom with computers on and ready for action.  We had to be ready, knowing Santa would soon be on his way toward Australia and New Zealand. Christmas arrives in those countries first. 
     I gave each row its assignments:
     •  Rows one and two handled weather tracking. 
     •  Rows three and four dealt with air traffic.  Their coding skills were put to the test. Several nations were reluctant to turn over their air traffic computers to our young coders.  No problem. Our intermediates hack straight in and accessed all the information Santa needed to navigate the skies safely.  
     •  Rows 5 and 6 dealt with hackers.  Every Christmas thousands of Grinchlike programmers attempt to hack into Santa's GPS to confuse the reindeer with inaccurate global positioning information. Row 5 and 6 handled them brilliantly. First they intercepted and disarmed the malware. Secondly they identified who it was who sent the malicious code, and lastly they accessed Santa's Naughty and Nice list and promptly removed the mischievous rascals name from the "Good" column.

     Christmas was a success and you can thank the Space Academy's Intermediate Coders for it.  They worked tirelessly for 48 straight hours living on soda and Smith's donuts so you and your family could enjoy the holiday.  Isn't this what you expect?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of at the Space Academy!

Mr. Williamson

The Imaginarium