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

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Matt Robinson Retires from the Space Center to Become a Real Captain. Orion Given a Time Out and Yellow Flag. Our Time Lord Writes a New Story (and it's shockingly good). Tabitha Really Gets Into Her Missions. The 11 Year Old Facebook Picture of the Overnight Camp Staff That Won't Go Away. Imaginarium Theater.

Matt flying the Galileo

     Who would rather captain a real airplane when you can fly a starship? Apparently Matt. This will be our first Saturday without him in a long time as he has moved to Arizona to pursue that piloting career.
     Matt has been a part of our Space Center family for many years. First as a volunteer who traveled all the way down from Logan. (Now that is dedication, or addiction, one of those) Matt has more recently been a flight director in the Galileo and Magellan for field trips, private flights, and camps. Perhaps having rare access to the program is what drove him to provide the very best experience he could, with the thought in mind that each flight might be their only chance to share something he loves. Matt made the most of every moment and the crews benefited immensely.

     So as Matt moves forward to his next adventure we appreciate that he shared so many great ones with us. Good luck Matt and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

     Oh, and if you haven't seen the quality work he did with our instagram account you should go see what skills he applied with his public relations degree from BYU.

James Porter
Space Center Director

The Magellan Staff Greet Matt as he Arrives to Fly his Last Mission
Matt finishing his last flight as a Space Center Flight Director

     Matt Robinson's dedication to the Space Center amazed me. During my time as CMSEC director, Matt was our true long distant volunteer.  Here was this young teen who somehow convinced is parents to bring him down from Logan just so he could either fly or volunteer in our simulators.  
     Now here he is cutting the strings and literally flying away. Matt has gone to Arizona to learn to fly airplanes.  Soon it will Capt. Matt Robinson as the friendly voice welcoming you aboard for a future cross country flight.  
     Matt sent the following email thanking me for creating the Space Center. In the email he detailed how the Space Center had changed his life.  I asked Matt if I could put the email in this post as a testimony to our young volunteers and their parents.  Volunteering in one of Utah County's Space Centers can be life changing as it was for Matt.  And for the parents of our volunteers I think it is important to understand how important volunteering and working at the Space Center can be. The Space Center is a safe haven where important job skills are taught and life long friends are made.


I wanted to take a second to write you a quick email and tell you thank you for starting the Space Center. I believe I talked with you about this when I saw you at the grant assembly, but I have moved on and I am now living in Phoenix starting flight school tomorrow working towards becoming an airline pilot, and I really have your program to thank for it.

I knew the Space Center played a significant role in my life (obviously for how long I stuck around), but as I was preparing to move to Phoenix and was going through everything in my room to declutter I realized just how huge of an impact the Space Center had on me and the direction I ultimately ended up going in life. I found so many memories, pins, journal entries, etc. and they all played a role in helping me end up right here in Phoenix, Arizona following my dreams.

For as long as I can remember I have always kept my eyes looking up at the sky. Whether it be planes, the moon, or the stars, I could never get enough of staring at them and longing for the opportunity to be there. The real world tells us that it's not realistic to have such high hopes, and that we should settle for the ordinary; but your program taught me that anything is possible through hard work and making your dreams a reality is important.

Working as a volunteer and eventually a flight director and supervisor gave me so many hands-on skills that I will be using in my future career. Working in a team, communication, multitasking, focusing on customer experience among many more are crucial skills that I am so grateful to have going forward.

I've had this conversation with many staff members because so many of us feel the same way, but we all need the Space Center for different reasons. We may need a place to get away from difficult experiences in the real world, we may be there for the friendships, for the experience--whatever we need it for, the Space Center has been there to fill that need. I'm grateful I discovered the Space Center despite living far away in Logan initially because it gave me a place to be myself and explore areas that truly interested me. I may not have realized it at the time, but my first Space Center experience truly became one of those critical moments which put me on the path to eventually seeing the vision who I wanted to become one day.

I hope to stay in touch and will share updates as I progress through my training, but thank you from the bottom of my heart for this program and all of the shared experiences we have had.

Wishing you all the best,

Matt Robinson    

Thank you Matt and be sure to visit often.  Oh, and the occasional barrel roll as you fly overhead would be very much appreciated, although your passengers might not think so.

Victor Williamson

News from the Christa McAuliffe Space Center
Telegraphed from Troubadour Gossipteers Audrey Henriksen and Mason Perry with Cleverness Laced with Snippets of Wit from Yours Truly

Jon Parker Gives Orion Bowers a Time Out for Loving the Galileo Too Much

Orion at the Galileo's helm. What a multitasker; able to text and fly at the same time!
(Note: the picture was staged. He wasn't really flying. I just needed a picture)

     Orion Bowers received his Flight Director Blues in October  from Galileo Set Director Erin Williams and has enjoyed flying The Little Ship that Could ever since.  He loves the Galileo.  "My crews are trapped in that little ship and can't get out unless I let them," he replied when asked why he loved the Galileo so much. "Finally people have to listen to what I say!"  
     I find there is a lot of truth to what Orion says. Many of the couple dozen flight directors in the Space EdVentures network of simulators would say the same thing if you got them to be honest.  It's a bit of a power trip. 
     Let's get back to Orion.
     When Orion isn't flying the Galileo you'll find him hovering over Jon Parker in the Magellan Control Room. He calls it 'job shadowing'. He's learning to fly the Magellan. That's where I found him yesterday, sandwiched between Jon and the rest of the Magellan staff.

You can't actually see Orion in this photo. He is concealed directly beside Jon.
     Orion had a clipboard for notes. Strangely there were very few notes under the "Tips" column but plenty under the "Recommendations for Jon on the Proper Operation of the Magellan" column.  I'm told by my sources that Orion shares his recommendations with Jon during the mission; giving an idea here and there, suggesting a better piece of music or a criticism on the way Jon played a character.  
     Jon is a patient man but there are limits to what one man can endure under the stress of live theater.  When Jon's patience tank is exhausted he clears his throat and mutters Mason's name followed by "Time Out".  Mason (blue shirt in the photo above) stands and kindly escorts Orion from the Control Room to his time out spot in the Discovery Room. 
     "What did I say?" Orion always asks. "It's all true. I'm only trying to help. You know he needs needs it." 

     Yesterday I found Orion sitting in his Time Out spot under Josh Anderson's watchful eye.
Josh was helping Orion understand that the simulators do some things differently. Each ship is different in size and the stories it tells. Josh does an excellent job refereeing disagreements and enforcing Magellan rules and standards. He is the go to man for such things because Josh Anderson is a high school football referee; just one his many side jobs. 

Josh Anderson (end of the line) at one of the high school football games 

     Josh threatened Orion with an unsportsmanlike penalty he if didn't stop filling Jon's email inbox with essays on good flight directing.  

     Orion would have none of that. "You have no power here," he said sarcastically.  Josh reached into his back pocket, pulled his yellow flag and threw it.  Orion picked it up, sat it beside him and said with a grin, "You're not getting this back." 
     Luckily I was on hand to calm things down with cookies and donuts.  I reminded Orion that he was in diapers when Jon started at the Space Center and a bit of respect wouldn't go unappreciated. Orion when back to his typing. 
    Now there is the chance I may have my facts wrong with this story. Orion may have been in the Discovery Room because the Magellan Control Room was too crowded and thus too warm and not because he was being disciplined. And the notes on his clipboard may have notes to improve his flying and not Jon's. I suppose what I saw could be interrupted that way, but then I wouldn't have a good story to tell so I'll stick with what I've got typed and leave it at that......  

Mr. W.  
Mason Perry, The CMSC's Resident Time Lord, Shocks Mr. Williamson by Writing a Story that is Pretty Good. At Least According to Natalie Anderson   

Mason with his new Time Lord Time Calculator Fresh Out of his Tardis and Reporting in for Duty
at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.

Mason's new iTime12S Time Calculator
     I could fill volumes with stories of Mason's exploits as a registered and certified Time Lord - some of which have been relayed with extreme accuracy in previous Troubadour posts; but those are stories for another day.  Today I want to share a little know fact about Mason; he can write a pretty good mission, at least that's the scuttlebut floating around the Odyssey Control Room.  Case in point, yesterday I stopped in to visit the Odyssey and found Natalie Anderson flying Mason's new mission "Lost and Found".  
     I asked Mason for a short but concise summary of the mission. 

     About a month ago, starfleet detected an energy discharge in a solar system near their deep space border. The government which inhabited the solar system assured starfleet that everything was fine. After a week or so of them assuring us everything was fine, we lost contact with the government in the solar system, and detected a large magnetic cloud surrounding the system, blocking all signals in and out. The Federation sent ships in, only to lose contact with them immediately.
     Now, it's the Odyssey's job to find these ships, explore the expanding cloud, and deal with the endless swarms of robotic drones that patrol the solar system.
     Rumor has it "Lost and Found" isn't fiction.  I'm told by my sources on Gallifrey that Mason has taken one of his assignments as a Time Lord and converted it into an Odyssey story.  

The Magellan's Whiteboard, Where Orion Likens Himself to Banksy, the Great Graffiti Artist.  

     Apparently Orion likes to leave drawings on the staff whiteboard hoping somebody will take his art seriously.  Mason was kind enough to send a selection for The Troubadour's readers.  What do you think? What would you be willing to pay for an Orion masterpiece painted on your backyard fence? 

      Audrey was inspired by Orion's work and left a drawing of her own for the Magellan staff's enjoyment. 

Then on Matt Robinson's final day, everyone had a party drawing a bunch of bugs on the Discovery whiteboard. 

The Magellan's Ghost Captured by Audrey 

Audrey as Zoe

I was at work in the Odyssey playing Zoe in the staff favorite "Outlaws". Just by chance I happened to walk onto the Magellan Bridge. The ship had been shut down after the last flight of the day, and the Magellan Ghost decided to have some fun with the lights, making them flash white and orange. 

     Who knows what it will do next, print ghostly messages, tap on the walls, or maybe even start up the ship and take it for a few joy rides through the galaxy!


The Odyssey's Tabitha Really Gets Into Her Missions. Think How Much Fun it is being a Member of Her Crew. 

Rachel Harken's Facebook Picture that Just Won't Go Away Even After Eleven Years.

     Eleven years ago Rachel Harken drew this picture characterizing the usual Space Center overnight staff. It went nuts at the time on Facebook resulting in scores of messages back and forth and back and forth. 
     Eleven years later Jon Parker digs the photo out from obscurity and reposts it for all to enjoy. 
With the picture I included a few of the most recent comments from Facebook.  
     Thank you Rachel for drawing it. Thank you Jon for reposting it.  And thank you to the greatest staff a Space Center director could want for the overnight camps.  We got to know each other very well. Remember, we did an overnight camp every weekend year round (except the odd holiday weekend here and there).  

Mr. Williamson 
P.S.  Why am I pictured with a scowl on my face?  Was I really that disagreeable? 

Jon Parker Just In case anyone forgot this existed....Now you remember :P



Brett Jamison Why am I pointing and talking to someone that looks like Caity but is tagged as Sam...?

Wyatt Lenhart For Christmas I was going to frame this picture and get all the comments printed in a nice book for everyone


Emily Paxman Easy, that’s a lot paper.


Wyatt Lenhart I decided against it because I don't have that kind of income and the Earth doesn't have that kind of paper

David Kyle I miss everyone. You are all are very incredibly talented and kind. It was an honor to teach and work with each of you.


Megan Warner Beej, it looks like a few of the tags have been removed or changed for some reason. Not sure why. You are definitely talking to Caity.


Victor Williamson Love this. You know where it will be going next.

Wyatt Lenhart There are over 10 years of comments here. I don't know if the world is ready

The Imaginarium

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

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