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

Sunday, March 31, 2019

See My Original Starship Controls (Pre Computers) and the Original Crews at Central Elementary, Spring 1983 to Spring 1990. This is How It All Started. The Story of the Valiant. The USS Odyssey's New Summer Space Camp Mission. Imaginarium Theater

The original paper helm station for the classroom starship Pegasus.

     I'm often asked, "How did this place [the Space Center] get started?" It's a story I've shared hundreds of times over the last thirty years. Many of you Troubadours know the story so I'll be brief.  

     Spring 1983. Because of a clerical mistake at BYU, my 3rd grade student teaching assignment in Springville was mistakenly given to another student. I was called into the education department office and asked if I'd be kind enough to take a 6th grade student teaching position at Central Elementary School in Pleasant Grove. Mr. Mike Thompson was to be my cooperating teacher. I didn't know where Pleasant Grove was but gladly took the assignment; I liked the 6th grade curriculum and the more mature students.
My 6th Grade Student Teaching Class. Mr. Thompson is on the left. Mr. Emal (principal) on the right.
This was their class picture taken in September 1982

     Mr. Thompson asked me to teach the space science unit.  Knowing this unit would make up a large part of my student teaching grade, I wanted to impress my professor with something out of the box and unusual.  I decided to copy Carl Sagan's Cosmos TV series and take the class out into space to witness first hand what I was teaching. Classroom computers were unheard of in the Spring of 1983 so I created poster board controls for the student's desks. I drew most of my visuals (tacticals) on overhead projector plastic 81/2 by 11 sheets and ran the simulations from behind my desk with an overhead projector. My cassette player boom box provided the music. My voice did the sound effects and different voices and accents for my main engineer, computer, and aliens.  

     That spring, the class and I took several voyages into space.  The professor was impressed and gave me an A.  Mr. Thompson enjoyed it and wrote me up a glowing recommendation.  My student teaching ended with a job offer. Mr. Frandson, the other sixth grade teacher in room 20, announced his retirement and the job was offered.  The rest, as they say, is history. 

The poster board weapons and engine controls. The wear and tear speaks of the many missions and hours of fun
this poster provided my students over those many years.
     The poster board controls for the USS Pegasus were easy to use. The student spoke the button's name while pushing the button.  From behind my desk, I'd year the student and make the appropriate sound whilst searching through my stack of overheads for the right visual effect.  

Some of those first young Starfleet Officers on the school's field day, the only day of the year
they were allowed to wear shorts.
These young Starfleet officers are in their mid 40's today
Here you go, the USS Pegasus sensors station.

You can't spend all day in space. These young Starfleet officers are on a field trip to Hogle Zoo. 
The ship's transporter station. Yes, the dials actually spin

All work and no play makes for a dull Starfleet officer. Here is the sixth grades flag football team.
I helped coach that year. We did very well.

They are all grown up now with kids and grandkids of their own.
The navigation station. I used water based markers to hand draw a map of the sector on the plastic covered top section.
The students used rulers and protractors to plot and speak their courses.

One of the engineering posters for the USS Pegasus.
The communications poster controls.

There I am with my class of young Starfleet officers enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation on an alien world
somewhere near the galactic core.

     We all owe a debt of gratitude to David Kyle Herring for saving these poster controls from the old wooden drawers which use to sit in the old Odyssey's control room.  They had served their purpose well, placed in a drawer and forgotten.  Kyle found them and asked if he could take and store them safely knowing some day they would have historical and sentimental value.  
     Two weeks ago Kyle walked into my classroom at Renaissance with the poster controls.  They had found their way back from obscurity and welcomed as true pieces of art testifying to the history and beginnings of today's Space EdVentures movement. 
     I'm considering the future of these controls. For sure they will be framed and preserved. Perhaps they will return to the new Central School and displayed in the new Space Center. Perhaps they'll be divided between the various Space EdVenture Centers so every center will have one to celebrate our collective humble beginnings.  What are your thoughts?  Email with your suggestions. 
     On a side note, wouldn't it be cool to have a small ship with real button controls patterned on these originals?   Could the USS Pegasus make a return somewhere, sometime?


The USS Odyssey Announces its New Summer Camp Mission at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

     From the writers that brought you The Edge Principle, Plight of Thieves, Oracle, and Unto Dust comes the Odyssey’s newest Summer Story: Deadlock. Dispatched by the University of Haven, the Odyssey is sent into uncharted space to discover the secrets of the Conclavi. Finding themselves trapped between the confines of two cultures, can the Odyssey find a way to escape the Deadlock?

Utah Summer Space

Artistic Credit: Natalie Anderson

From the Archives. The News Report on the Opening of the iWorlds Valiant at Thanksgiving Point. June 2011.

     The Valiant was built in a large trailer, the kind you need a semi to pull.  Dave Moon, Shelley Ellington and I designed the ship.  Dave Moon provided the funding. The controls were programmed by Wes Smith's oldest son Wesley.  The ship was finished in the spring of 2011 and ready for launch.
     iWorlds was founded by Dave Moon and Wes and Cindy Smith. The company built its first brick and mortar ships, the Apollo and Artemis,  in an old restaurant building in Murray.
The venture wasn't successful and closed in August 2007. What didn't die was the founders' desire to find a way to bring simulator based experiential learning to the masses.
     Dave Moon contacted me four years later with another idea. He wanted to know my thoughts on a mobile simulator.  The Valiant sprang from those discussions.   

                            Dave Moon                                                             Cindy and Wes Smith

     The Valiant ran missions at Thanksgiving Point from June to November 2011.  In November it was moved to Park City High School.  Casey Voeks moved to Park City and lived with Wes and Cindy Smith while creating a simulator based educational program for Park City High School. Unfortunately, because of Park City's business codes concerning non-permanent - trailer businesses, the school was told to "Move it or Lose It". Once more th Valiant was a ship in need of a home. It was moved once again in June 2012 to Provo where it sat in business parking lot and mothballed.  Dave Moon was called to be a mission president in Cambodia and Wes Smith moved on to other business endeavors.  
     Fast Forward to June 2017.  Dave Moon generously donated the Valiant into the care of Dr. Ryan Anderson from TelosU. The Valiant was to be restored it to its former glory.  The ship was moved to TelosU in Orem and refurbished.

Ryan Anderson and team inspect the Valiant.  It sure needed some TLC after all those years at spacedock

     Today the Valiant sits at Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove on loan from TelosU where it has found purpose in both field trips and private missions as a Reality's Edge simulator.

The Valiant
Imaginarium Theater
The Best Videoettes From Around the World To Entertain and To Teach for a Gentler Audience.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

See the IKS Marvel, Michigan's First Starship Simulator.The Fleet of Voyager Inspired Simulators Grows. Alex Boye's Music Video: How Many Simulators Can You Recognize? Jon Parker Loses his Locks. What is This Worth at the Space Center's Gift Shop? Imaginarium Theater.

The IKS Marvel's Bridge

Hello Space EdVenturers!
     This is one of those exciting posts celebrating the opening of a new Dream Flight Adventurers simulator.  The IKS Marvel is located at Dansville Elementary School in Dansville, Michigan almost smack dab in the center of the glove. 

     The IKS Marvel will be led by Angela St. Amant—a.k.a. Admiral Ameliorous—who has been an educator at Dansville Schools for over 15 years and currently serves as a technology and STEAM teacher, K-8.  She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University as well as an MA in Literacy Instruction and her Administration Certificate, both from Michigan State University.  She’s a perfect fit for Flight Director as the IKS Marvel takes off.

      The IKS Marvel is the 66th simulator in the fleet of Voyager inspired simulators and Dream Flight Adventures eighth simulator.  

The Dream Flight Adventures Fleet of Voyager Inspired Simulators

Congratulations to our friends at Dream Flight Adventures and our fellow space enthusiasts at Dansville Elementary School on the launch of the IKS Marvel.  Welcome to the family of Voyager inspired simulators. 


Alex Boye's Newest Music Video Filmed in the Four Simulators at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

Alex Boye'
 visited the Christa McAuliffe Space Center last summer and just released the video that was filmed at the Space Center. Can you recognize all four simulators?

Jon Parker Loses his Locks and Suffers for It

Jon Parker before the big cut and after

     This is one of those side comments for all you Jon Parker fans. Jon is the CMSC's assistant director.  Jon has succumbed to both family and peer pressure (mostly family) and cut his hair.  I knew the day would come when the locks would have to go. Why Starfleet put up with them for so long no one knows. 
     I overheard a water cooler comment from those who work with Jon on a daily basis that his flight directing has slipped a bit after the big cut. I attribute it to the Samson complex. Intertwined in that thick mane was his confidence just like Samson's strength was locked into his long hair.  Jon cut his hair and the result: a non threatening case of microphoneobia emerges. 

     Jon was in denial until his fellow flight directors held an intercession on his behalf. He was brought into James Porter's office and told to pick up James's ACME Voice Blaster 2000 microphone.  First came the shaking, then the sweat, broken voice, and hives. In a whimpering voice, Jon finally admitted what everyone around him suspected.  
The ACME VoiceBlaster 2000 on Mr. Porter's desk
     Because microphoneobia is so rare, especially the type brought on by the cutting of hair, there are no support groups for the condition. Instead, Jon has joined a general phobia support group which meets weekly at the local junior high. He's doing well and has made a few friends: an anatidaephoic and an allodoxaphobic, both of whom are rumored to be wanting to volunteer at the Space Center in the future.

     We all support Jon as he works through the issue at hand. As a good friend and former boss, I even complimented him on a recent telling of Event Horizon. It took everything I had to do it, but I did. I did it for Jon.  


What is This Worth in Today's Christa McAuliffe Space Center Gift Shop?
     Clint Sanderson posted this picture on Facebook the other day. With the photo was the question, "What is this worth with inflation?"   
     Clint attended Central Elementary and was one of my top Space Center volunteers back in the 1990's when these gift shop credits were a thing. He played the first 'Horace' when the Voyager mission "Hunt for Horace" was told. Volunteers were given credits for working. The sugar in the gift shop was all priced in credits. Earn enough credits and the candy shop was yours! 

     Today Clint works as a special education teacher at Shelley Elementary School in American Fork. His kids go to school at Central. 

Clint striking his typical pose

     In his spare time Clint likes to ride around PG in his very cool motorbike.  So don't be surprised if he stops by the Space Center some afternoon after work asking to exchange the credit for a nice box of 36 Snickers or Twixs.  You've been warned. Don't disappoint him.  

The Long Lost Liquid Nitrogen Container was Found After All These Years

     Years ago I bought a liquid nitrogen container (they are expensive) for Jennifer Remy to use for  her summer camp science demonstrations.  A few weeks in the summer the canister sprung a leak. I sent it back and a replacement was sent.  The replacement came at the end of the camp season so I left it in the box and put it somewhere and promptly forgot where that somewhere was. 
     Several weeks ago Brandon Pace walked into the Space Center's office with a big brown cardboard box he'd found down in the school's catacombs.  "I think this is a Space Center thing," he said handing it to James. Inside the box was the lost canister.  How it got from the Briefing Room to the fallout shelter is a unanswerable question; I'm just glad it was found and can fulfil its purpose.  

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

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Final Artwork is In. See the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center. This is it Folks. Isn't it Awesome! The Imaginarium.

Last night at the Space Center Advisory Board meeting Dr. Vicki Carter unveiled the final drawings of the new Space Center just released by the architects and YOU get to see it first.  

"Wow,!" about sums it up.  Look at how far we've come as a Space Center community; from poster board controls and overhead projector in 1983 to the opening of the Voyager in 1990, then several more simulators from 1991 to 2013, and now to this next phase in what will be a long future of space education for the students in the Alpine School District.  

The district is nearly ready to fence off Central Elementary's playground so construction can start in a couple weeks. The new Space Center and Central School should be ready to open a year from next month.  Mr. Porter is looking into installing a construction cam so die hard Space Center fans can keep up with the latest in construction updates. 

Fund Raising

I've heard from a reputable source that another significant donation is on its way.  If you want your donation amount doubled and receive the connected benefits below you need to donate soon!

As always, funds are needed to outfit the simulators properly.  Any amount helps.  Go to to learn how you can contribute to the Space Center's new dream ships.  

Or use this quick handy dandy code to get to the website:

The Imaginarium