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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

An Open Letter of Thanks to Apple for Their Help In Creating the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. From the Archives, Stories and Pictures from the Early 2000's. Imaginarium Theater

One of the donated Mac's with my first hypercard controls
So simple, yet they did the job for 1990.

     This week the Christa McAuliffe Space Center posted this open letter on Facebook to Apple thanking them for the computer donations and onsite help given to me to start the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in 1990.  

Dear Apple,     In 1989 Apple donated a set of Mac Classics to a teacher with an idea, flew him out to California, taught him how to program in HyperCard, and sent him back to make a difference. Those computers helped to control a fictional starship used to send students into space to face a wide range of stimulating and impactful challenges. Over the last 29 years we have served hundreds of thousands in science and technology focused learning.     In short you helped transform regular classrooms into educational starships.
     We are reaching out to say thank you for helping us get started. Since that first set of controls we have had many versions that have progressed from HyperCard to Revolution, then onto Cocoa, and now an open source platform called Thorium. Beyond the controls we create custom visuals using Apple Motion and edit video clips with iMovie so that the crews can see the results of the choices they make in the simulator. The large majority of what is developed is programmed and created by high school students who are mentored by college or professional level experts. Many have gone onto computer science or graphic arts related careers.
     I hope this example of your impact on our small program and the difference it has had in so many people's lives makes its way to your company. Thank you for taking a chance with us so long ago.

The 400,000+ participants of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

     Apple was kind in making a donation of computers. Flying me to California for that crash course in Hypercard was a lifesaver in getting the Center open. 
     I'd like to add the following to the CMSC's thank you letter to Apple from those in the Space EdVentures family. 

Dear Apple,
     I'd like to share with you the broader impact that donation to the CMSEC has had in addition to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  Today there are CMSEC inspired simulators and programs at Renaissance Academy in Lehi, Lakeview Academy in Saratoga Springs, Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove and Telos U in Orem.  Each program touches the lives of hundreds of people every year.  In addition to the local programs, the CMSEC inspired the creation of Dream Flight Adventures with simulator programs running at schools in Pennsylvania, Michigan, the District of Columbia, and Venezuela.  Finally the CMSEC inspired the founding of InfiniD which converts computer labs throughout the country into simulators giving students the best in experiential software and programs. InfiniD has swelled to usage in 2,500 classrooms this school year. That equals about 80,000 students using the program.  More students experience the thrill and excitement of simulation based "missions" through InfiniD than all of the other organizations combined. 

Today's Young Astronauts on the Starship Voyager
Renaissance Space Academy

      From poster board controls, to very basic black and white, six inch screen, Macs to a new Christa McAuliffe Space Center and similar programs around the world, our discipline of wonder is spreading and inspiring new generations to dream big and achieve the impossible.

Mr. Williamson

The Places and Programs Inspired by the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center

Dream Flight Adventures

Telos U

Lakeview Academy

Canyon Grove Academy

Renaissance Space Academy

From the Archives of the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center

The Galileo Runs its New Missions on Test Groups
May 26, 2003

I would like to officially say that my first ever test mission, 'Battleship Bismarck,' was successful. My crew (consisting of Tanner, Ben H, Randy, and Ryan P.) seemed to be pleased with the mission when it was over. I must say that I greatly appreciate their
patience with me and this mission. It was nice to have people who were experienced enough to let those things slide. They didn't, however, say too much to me about the mission after.

The mission was written a while back, but the final preparations were not made until I found out I was running the test mission a week prior. I was more fortunate than Mr. Williamson, however, because I was able to see the tactical and video the day before,

I ran into a little problem halfway through the mission. Mr. Williamson instructed me that I could go a few hours later for this test mission than what is typical for an overnighter. So, not paying much attention to the time, my crew was on an away mission at 9:45 am on Saturday. My apologies to Mr. Williamson and anyone else it might have hindered.

My new private mission is titled "Covert Action." I actually ran this for Kylee a few days ago upon request. I do not have video for this yet, but thanks to Josh Babb that was not a problem. I do know that this mission does need some additional material. I am currently working on that...

Now that the test missions are out of the way, I must say I am excited for summer. Once again, a special thanks to my crews, Josh, and Ryan for the success of both missions.

Julie Collett

Odyssey Weekend Wrap-up. New Summer Mission "Heir to the Empire" Tested
May 27, 2003 

We tested the Odyssey summer mission this past weekend. It was really hectic! Our tactical screens and video were being finished that evening so we started just a tad bit late. The crew consisted of Brady Young, Bryson Lystrup, Megan Warner, Emily Perry, Jamison McDougal, Rick Cowdell, and Jake. My staff consisted of Allan Stewart, James Porter, Landon Helmsley, David Merrell, and myself.

After a slow start, things heated up pretty quickly, especially when we tested out certain parts of the mission that utilized the marvelous programming capabilities of Allan Stewart!
The crew through us for a loop when they started decoding several secret Romulan messages earlier than they were suppose to and without a decoding sheet!

After we got them back on track the mission worked much better. Both James and I are excited to run it. Right now the working title is "Heir to the Empire".

James Porter has temporarily taken over the chief Odyssey position with Landon Helmsley and Josh Babb as his staff as I take a month off to go to school.

There are alot of new developments in the works for the Odyssey that will be complete soon. I want to thank Kyle Herring for finishing our first of many new additions - the video screen back in the Engineering section of the ship. It has long been needed.

Well, that is it for this week from the Odyssey.

Discovery Log, 28 May 2003
Cache County, Utah

Today was the last day of our daytime field trips. We ran through every fifth-grade class in the Cache District (who could make it). Our field trips were very successful in introducing the wonders of "our kind" of space simulation to the youth of Cache Valley. We look forward to
(hopefully) running the Cache District again next year, and perhaps other districts as well. Many thanks to all of those who put together and ran the daytime program, but especially to James and James (Porter and Cawley), Jeremy at "second chair," Tara in the classroom and the other people at the Discovery Alliance who think we are a little off our rockers. They would be right. We now have a bit of a respite before beginning our summer missions.

Let's Do the Time Warp Again The script for Black Hole is complete and is now going into production (yea, I's about time). I included some story elements that I think will work well but I have never tried before. Hopefully it will work out well, but I imagine we will be making a few changes on the fly (as is usual). I want to shoot a couple of original video segments for this, and I may need some help from some of the "Christa McAuliffe gang," so don't be surprised if I contact some of you in the next few days.

As always, thanks to all those who have given us your support.

Dave Wall
Director, Discovery Space Simulator

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

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Dream Flight Adventures Founders Fly on the Voyager. New Software for the Space Academy. The X-Craft Returns to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center? From the Archives: Historical Photos and stories. May 2003. Imaginarium Theater

The Founders of Dream Flight Adventures Visit the Renaissance Space Academy and Adventure aboard the New Voyager

      Renaissance Space Academy welcomed Gary and Sarah Gardiner and boys to the USS Voyager last Thursday. Gary and Sarah are the co-founders of Dream Flight Adventures, a space simulator company with starship simulators in Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Michigan, and Venezuela. 
     Dream Flight Adventures is the couple's dream job, but not one that pays the bills; Universal Studios does that. Gary works for Universal Studios in Florida, but that is changing - which is what brought Gary to Utah. Universal is sending Gary and his family to Japan for one year to install a new attraction at their park in Tokyo.  Before making the big move, Gary and family made the Utah stop to visit family.  "My kids have never flown in a simulator," he confessed. "Here I am with a company that does starship simulators but my own kids have never lived in a place where they could take advantage of the opportunity to fly.  Tonight we're going to change that with this flight in the Voyager." 
     Gary caught the starship bug as a young camper at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center. He did the full gambit of missions: field trips, private missions, overnight and summer space camps. Gary and Sarah moved to Pennsylvania where he graduated from Carnegie Mellon University. While there they built their first starship in their home to test his starship software, which led to the founding of Dream Flight Adventures.
Day to day operations of Dream Flight was passed on to Gary's associate Michael Penn when the family moved to England.  Two years ago Gary and family moved to Florida where they currently reside until they move to Japan in a few weeks. 

     Bracken Funk and Megan Warner directed the Voyager mission for the Gardiners.
A great time was had by all. Gary summed up the experience by writing on the Academy Facebook's: "It was awesome fun for the whole family! We brought a mixed-age group (ages 8-65) and we all had a blast. It's everything I'd expect from a Space Center mission, and more!"

Dream Flight Adventures Donates their Simulator Software to Renaissance Space Academy

     Gary Gardiner was quick to respond to Bracken Funk's request made on Thursday before his family's adventure on the Starship Voyager. "Gary we need your ship controls," Bracken said in his straight forward style. 
    "Done," Gary replied without hesitation. And with that kind donation, the USS Voyager now employs all the simulator software currently available today:  Thorium, InfiniD, Dream Flight, and Interstellar.
     The Lion's Gate Center at Lakeview Academy is currently beta testing Dream Flight software in the Apollo and Artemis, looking for ways to possibly integrate it with Thorium. 
The Space Academy joins Lion's Gate in that endeavor.  

The X-Craft Returns at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center?

     Some have been curious to see how we built our simulator display for FanX. Perhaps we'll call it the X-Craft for easy reference. The wood framing took two days and some redesigning of the angle for a sturdier based. The paint was done the morning before we drove up to the event using a latex base and metallic spray paint.
     Our plan now is to enhance it with the help of our student Engineering Department who will program lights, an improved audio system, and other fun new elements.

James Porter
CMSC Director

     Only the oldest in our CMSEC Diaspora will remember the original X-Craft used during our overnight camps in the 1990's.  It was used as an away team experience. It was housed in one of our Starlab Planetarium inflatable domes.  The interior was simple; four or five chair / sleeping pad combos, a TV on a stand and a couple of speakers.  

A Starlab Dome. The CMSEC had two domes
The X-Craft's chairs / sleeping pads

     There were no computers - the ship was voice activated and controlled - hence the X-Craft.  It was the Alexa of the 1990's!  The staff sat outside the dome with a video tape player, cassette tape player, mixer and microphone.  I say let's bring the name back.  Welcome to the new X-Craft.


From the Historical Archives of the Christa McAuliffe Space Center:  SpaceEdVentures YahooGroup

The Voyager's Captain Looking Good for the Part. July 2008

Two More Space Center Campers Build Simulators of their Own

May 22, 2003

Hello everyone,
     I am pretty sure that none of you know who I am, but my name is Lindsay, and I'm an explorer. I've been to observe missions three times, and I love the Space Center. Because of this interest, I made a ship in my basement. Now, it has no REAL computers in it, just some kinda neat cardboard ones, and isolinear chips made out of playing cards. But, I like it a lot, and I sort of feel like I have my own little Space Center in my basement. And it just so happens that my friend , Melanie, also has constructed a ship in her basement as well! Mine is the USS Emissary and her's is the Endever (that is Endever, not Endeavor).

The 3 day campers waiting to enter PG's pool for swim and movie night.  July 2008

     We each also made websites about our simulators, writing about our Star Trek universes, and where our ships fit in. (On one of my webpages, I've listed two missions that I've written, but I think my friend has not written any as of yet). Melanie and I would really appreciate it if anyone visits our sites. (I have a counter on mine, and would like to get a lot of hits).

My site is:   

Melanie's is:

If you have a few minutes on hand, just check them out! E-mail with comments and suggestions! We would really appreciate it!


Breakfast is served on the 3 day camps.  July 2008

Why the Space Center Experience is Better than Disneyland
May 24, 2003

Hello Troops,
I thought I'd share this with you. I received a phone call from a teacher last week telling me that her class just couldn't stop talking about their field trip to the Space Center. "It was the highlight of their year!" she exclaimed. She went on and told me that one girl told her that two hours at the Space Center was far better than a whole day at Disneyland! The rest of the class agreed.

The Campers are ready for their early morning ship assignments.  July 2008

What makes two hours here better than a day at Disneyland according to many of our young campers? I think the answer is:

1. Individual attention. Here we take care of very small groups, some as small as 5. The staff to camper ratio is close to 1:2. That kind of attention would be impossible to deliver without our awesome volunteers. All of you please take a bow and let me give you a few
solid pats on the back.

Mr. Williamson talking to the Magellan crew.  July 2008

2. No Crowds. What do you hate most of all at Disney? Crowds and the time you spend in line waiting for the attraction.

3. No Waiting. In and on with the program.

The campers are gathered before sending them to lunch.  July 2008

4. Attraction's Educational Value: Although the attractions at Disney are visually stunning and totally awesome in my opinion they lack the educational brain challenge. You enjoy yourself without having to think. Here you enjoy yourself because you think to get out of

The Odyssey crew getting their final "Good Luck, Have Fun, Don't Die".  July 2008

5. Real people behind the curtain. Yes, here the campers know there are real people they are working against. That makes a difference. It isn't "step into the ride and switch it on and then I'll go have a coke."

6. Time on task. A day at Disney means 90 percent of your day waiting in lines and 10 percent on the rides. Here it is the opposite.

The Phoenix Crew.  July 2008

7. Value for your Money. An overnight camp here costs $39.00 and includes five hours in a simulator and room and board for one night. What a deal!

I'm proud of what we've accomplished troops. The only thing we are missing is the millions of dollars Disney has. If we had that imagine what we could do?

And of course, the Galileo Crew.  July 2008

Everyone, be proud of your contribution to the Space Center. It means so much to our campers and it has changed lives for the better!

Mr. Williamson

The traditional before going to bed treat.  July 2008

A Camper Studies Engineering at University Because of her Visits to the Space Center
May 24, 2003

Hello Troops,
Our new principal stopped me the other day. "Mr Williamson," She said. " I spoke with someone at a meeting a few days ago. He knew I was principal at Central Elementary and remembered that was where the Space Center was located. He told me that his
daughter attended the Space Center several times when she was younger and loved it. She is now at the university training to become an engineer. She says that she stuck with math and science because of the Space Center and that was the reason for her decision to become an engineer. He told me that the Space Center was one of the best things
to come into her life."

Wow, that is what we all need to hear. Thanks to all for your work and dedication.

Mr. Williamson

Mr. Williamson's before going to bed instructions.  July 2008

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

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Space Center's Galileo Lite Lands at FanX in Salt Lake - A Big Hit. Construction Update. From the Archives - the First Telling of Event Horizon on the Voyager and Dave Wall and James Porter's Discovery Project. Imaginarium Theater.


 The Christa McAuliffe Space Center Lands the Galileo Lite at FanX in Salt Lake City

By James Porter
CMSC Director

     We had a wonderful time at FanX last week. Our mobile version of the Galileo for participants to sample performed well considering it was put together in 3 days. Our goal was to raise awareness of our program, get a few donations, and try to reach our Facebook likes goal. We didn't quite get all our goals but we ended up with something even better.

     There were so many times where people started off with a puzzled look and apprehension to stop that then transformed into excitement and a "thanks for stopping me, this is going to be what I do for my next birthday." Or the classic, "how did I not know this existed!"
     Often new fans rescued their friends from the hustle and bustle of the more crowded booths to come and experience our simulator instead. A prime example of how we rely on so many of you who have helped us with the simple phrase, "it's hard to describe, but trust me that you are going to love it."

     One new commander who is sure to work their way up the ranks became one of our favorites. This young man has already logged around 3 hours of simulator time. We asked if there were other things at the convention he was planning on seeing as he kept coming back, "No, yours is the best,"  he said. He eventually started receiving orders from Starfleet to complete investigations of a rumored Borg invasion in a nearby booth with our friends from the 7th Fleet Star Trek club.

     A large portion of our encounters brought back floods of memories with past volunteers, staff, and campers bumping into us. Many stories were shared as we reminisced about good times saving the galaxy. Far too many of them didn't realized we were still operating after so many years and had written it off as a childhood memory. They have their plans now to return and reconnect with the Space Center that was so much a part of their formative years.

     I think the furthest back we came was someone who went on an overnight camp around 25 years ago. As he stood there with his family he kept looking to his wife with a look of, "our kids are doing a mission while we fly another with our friends." It was fun to see his excitement as he tried to convey some of what he remembered to his wife who stood wide eyed as she saw a previously unknown side of her husband. The 12 year old right wing officer from 1994.

     To all those who visited that already fly with us on a regular basis as we greatly appreciate your support. To the many new fans who are gathering their crews for their first adventure we look forward to testing your abilities as command officers of our starships. Lastly to our long lost friends who we reconnected with we are glad to have you back and for the past experiences you shared with us.

      It was a great reminder of just how impactful our program has been and will continue to be as we spent the last few days in such excellent company.

Mr. Porter

Construction Update.  Central Elementary School and the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

Construction of the new Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central Elementary School is moving ahead at a fast pace.  Check out these now photos taken on September 13.

The new Space Center's foundation

The Space Center's walls are going up

The building site where the old three story church once stood

The school's walls are going up fast

From the Christa McAuliffe Space Center's Historical Archives

The First Telling of the Voyager Mission "Event Horizon"
May 13, 2003

Hello Troops,
The Voyager is going to run its summer mission, "Event Horizon" for the first time this Friday evening. It will be a level 3 mission (maybe a 2.5). The crew will be made up of some of our Sixth Graders from Central Elementary's staff and a few 6th and 7th graders from our
volunteer clubs. I want this to be limited to no one older than 13 years old. This will give me a good idea how our normal aged campers will understand the mission. The mission will begin at 7:00 P.M.  Friday evening and continue until 1:30 P.M. Saturday afternoon. We are
going longer because it is a test mission and we will be making changes as we go. You will be fed a breakfast but you should bring a sack lunch. The crew will be limited to 10 people. I'll give the slots away based on hours and points in the clubs.

If you are interested in being a crew member please send me an email asap. I'll let you know if you made it by Thursday. Once again, this will be for the top point earners in the clubs that are 11 - 13 years old.

Thanks Troops,
Mr. Williamson

Discovery Log, 05 May 2003
This is a blog post sent to me in 2003 by Dave Wall, Director of the Discovery Space Simulator program in the Cache Valley of northern Utah.  Dave started at the CMSEC as the original Odyssey's Set Director and Imagineer.  Dave started the Pathfinder project. He, along with James Porter, ran the program.    Victor Williamson
     Welcome to the first log entry of the USS Discovery! Many changes have been happening at the simulator up in Cache Valley and I have been very much behind in keeping in touch. Stay tuned for regular log entries.

Name Change
     For those of you who might be confused, the Pathfinder name and branding has been changed to Discovery. This includes the program itself (Discovery Space Simulator) and the name of the ship (USS Discovery). The simulator operates under the umbrella of the Discovery Alliance, and it is best for everyone to have a name that is compatible with the other programs under the Alliance (The Discovery Center, Discovery on Wheels and Discovery Summer Science Camps). Check out our updated website at Other ships named Discovery include one of the two ships used by the British explorer Captain James Cook when he explored Alaska and northwestern Canada in the 1770s, as well as the Space Shuttle. The Discovery is proud to bear the name of such historic ships.

Daytime Program a Success
     The daytime program was started in March and has been running very successfully ever since. By the end of the school year, we will have run nearly every 5th grade class in the District. We will be running missions all the way through May until the end of the school year. The daytime program was possible due to the sponsorship of the Cache County
School District and the Discovery Alliance, who we thank very much for their support.

Happy Birthday to Us
     The Discovery was launched on May 5th, 2001 as the USS Pathfinder at a ceremony that some of you may remember. We are now two years old and are finally getting things to work.

James Porter Leaving
     We are sad to say that James Porter is beginning to believe that there is life outside of simulation. He is going to be leaving the Discovery at the end of this week and may end up at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center from time-to-time. James has gone above and beyond the call of duty and managed to almost single-handedly got everything in the
Discovery running in Bristol-fashion. James has taken the responsibility of getting the ship fixed up and stations added so we could run a day program. I don't know where we would be without him.

Help Me Spock
     The Discovery is in desperate need of many things. We welcome not only donations, but your ideas as well. Please look over our website and let us know what you think. We have the information people need there, but are always looking to improve outreach and programs. Take a look at and give feedback to

     We are also in need of some items. We would love to upgrade our computer stations since the ones we have are getting on almost ten years old. If you have any Macs better the old LCIII you would like to donate, please let us know. If you don't have any, perhaps you know of where we may get some for not too many credits. We are also in need of cots for our overnight missions, preferably ones that don't squeak. If you don't have any items, please send us your ideas.

     Many thanks to those who have helped us get this going.

Dave Wall
Director, Discovery Space Simulator

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