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

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The New Magellan Opens at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Imaginarium Theater.

Magellan Mission Control Staff for Launch Day of the Magellan II
Nicole VandenBos, Audrey Henriksen, Lissa Hadfield, and volunteers.

Villains beware, the Magellan has returned and no asteroid field, nebula, or other hiding local will keep you safe for long.
Congrats again to our awesome staff and volunteers who work so hard to get each of our ships up and running. Our Saturday's have been booked out for weeks even as we add more simulators to the fleet. It is no small feat and they do it all with a smile on their faces.

The New Magellan

Here are the Magellan II's first crews.

A Tribute to the First Magellan and All Its Glory (You gotta love those strawberry iMacs)
A tribute to the first Magellan. It's last flight before the 2005 remodel.

The Magellan opened in 1999. Notice the IMacs were all the same color - raspberry.  That uniform color took a day's work. The original Magellan computers arrived at Central School in different colors. We had raspberry, lime, tangerine, and blueberry.  What a disaster for the bridge.  What would people think walking into the Magellan and seeing a smorgasbord of computer colors?  Mr. Adams, Central's principal, and I loaded up the lime, tangerine, and blueberry computers into the back of his pickup and drove to most of the district's elementary schools asking if we could swap our computers for their raspberry computers. The principals were very obliging.  We had our raspberry bridge.
      Of course, what we didn't know was that the computers were assigned to schools and their serial numbers recorded on the district's database. Dan Adams and I really messed up - causing the good folks at technology several hours of re entering serial numbers.  We asked for forgiveness but were not willing to take the computers back!
     With the article I'm including a few historical photos. Below are the last pictures taken of the original Magellan before the redesign and construction of the Magellan you know today. These pictures were taken on the evening of November 26, 2005. 

     This was the final private mission staff. The Magellan closed that night so construction of the new Magellan could start on November 27th.  I don't know everyone's names, but this is what I know. Left to right standing top:  ?,   Megan Warner, Sam Brady,  ?  ,  BJ Warner.
Front row:  Warren Nuila, Metta Smith, Steven Bristow, and Josh Babb. Josh was the Flight Director, Metta was second chair. The rest wanted to be there for the final goodbye to a wonderful set.    

Josh Babb in the Magellan's Flight Director position.  Notice in those days the flight directors sat facing second chair.

Steven Bristow and Warren Nuila folding the Magellan's uniforms at the end of the last mission.  

    The last picture.  What a team. What great memories. Megan's face sums it up..... Does anyone know who the two young volunteers were?
     The remodelled Magellan opened in the spring of 2006 and closed permanently for demolition in May 2020.  

     The Magellan has always had a history of great story telling.  That tradition will continue with the new Magellan. 
Welcome to the fleet of Space EdVentures simulators Magellan II.   

Mr. Williamson 
Imaginarium Theater Archives
The Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Come See the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center. Open House on May 8. Lion's Gate Space Center has a New Website. Imaginarium Theater


     Don't forget to come by and say hello to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center's new simulators, planetarium, staff, and volunteers this Saturday, May 8 from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.  I'd love to see you old time staff and volunteers.  If you're lucky you'll get to meet the oldest staff from 30 years ago!  Yes, we're still around, and yes we still haunt this place from time to time (most Saturday afternoons for me).   

Mr. W.   

Lion's Gate Space Center at Lakeview Academy Gets a Website Makeover

Nathan King did a good job on this makeover.  The Lion's Gate Space Center is open for private missions and booking summer camps.  Stop by and browse through their new website.  

Imaginairum Theater

This Week's Best Videos from Around the World.. Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The USS Cassini Opens at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center. The Space Place at Renaissance Academy Welcomes Back the Voyager's Student Staff and Volunteers. Virtual Field Trips at the Space Center. Imaginarium Theater.

One by one the six new starship simulators are opening at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center in Pleasant Grove.  The Cassini set sail with her first crew Saturday morning, April 17 under the watchful care of Jon Parker, Set Director.  

One thing you'll appreciate about the Cassini is the generous room allocated the simulator's control room.  There is room to stretch out and relax along with extra room for visiting guest observers.  The Cassini is power by Alex Anderson's Thorium software.  

Does the Cassini's Bridge layout look familiar?  Fans of the Space Center's first starship Voyager should see comparisons. 

The Cassini was inspired by the Voyager.  You have your center stations flanked on the left and right by the left wing and right wing stations.  The Voyager's stations were on different levels.  The Cassini's stations are all on the same level as per the architect's instructions.  Regardless, the  spirit of the Voyager is there in the design.  

In addition to the layout, Jon Parker has another goal for the new Cassini. Jon wants the Cassini to bring back the Voyager's old missions from the last three decades.  I stopped by the visit Jon and the Cassini Friday and found him telling "Cry from the Dark" to a young birthday party group.

The First Crew of the Cassini

The Cassini has a small engineering room just off the bridge.
The room is equipped with one of the Center's new dial and switch panels.        


Mason Edmondson helps a young officer learn his station on the 
Cassini's maiden flight.

Speaking of "Cry from the Dark", I enjoyed hearing Jon lead the crew through the mission.  I wrote "Cry.." years ago as a school field trip mission, and just as long ago since I've directed the mission.  Jon runs those old flight just the way I did all those years ago.  It's like stepping into a time machine when I watch him flight direct.  The old ways are the right ways for sure!  

Jon, Mason, Miranda and volunteer telling "Cry from the Dark"

The young Voyager captain thinking through the problems the Ferengi are giving him.
This is the part of the story where the Ferengi captain is about to spit out of anger.

The crew through the ship's monitoring camera.

The Cassini is open for private missions.  Visit the Space Center's web site to book one for yourself and friends.  Time to relive those old Voyager missions! 

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy Welcomes Back the Voyager's Student Staff and Volunteers

Bracken Funk, Lajana Funk, and Parriss King were busy Friday getting the Starship Voyager ready to fly. Bracken has been busy with the ship's Thorium software. His goal is to make the Voyager automated enough so one person can fly it in the Control Room, and we are nearly there. 

Friday was the day to bring in a small group of Space Place student volunteers. Mark, Brandon, Nathan, and Jackson were called in to man the bridge.  Bracken, Parriss, Lajana, and I staffed the Control Room.  Supernova was the mission chosen to put the Voyager through its paces. We wanted to push the controls to the point of breaking. I ran the microphone and directed the mission while Bracken worked the flight computers changing this and tweeking that.  

Mark, Brandon, Nathan, and Jackson on Friday's shakedown mission
You couldn't find a better group of young volunteers on the planet!

The Voyager ran beautifully. The fine tuning was minimal and yes, that pesky Dr. Jenkins got aboard the ship once again despite security's best efforts.  The flight ended at the Cardilir Neutral Zone border to be picked up the following day with a larger crew.   

The Saturday Crew of Fantastic Space Place student volunteers

The Voyager Shakedown Mission continued Saturday at 3:00 P.M. with a larger crew of outstanding Space Place volunteers.  Renaissance Academy's students are excited to see the Voyager being made ready to open again and are ready to once again wear their Young Astronaut Club shirts.


The Christa McAuliffe Space Center is Offering Virtual Planetarium Field Trips to Schools.

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

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The New Starship Galileo Launches! The Starship Voyager's Sprint to Launch: All Hands on Deck. The CMSC's Simulators are Open. Time Lapse of the Center's Construction. The Odyssey's New Panel. Imaginarium Theater.

The Third Starship to Carry the Galileo Name Launched on Saturday 

Top Right and Left: Galileo I and its Creator David Kyle Herring. 
Bottom left: Galileo II A project Led by David Kyle Herring.
Bottom Right: The New Galileo's First Crew on it's Saturday Launch Day

     I stepped into the lobby at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center on Saturday to present the 1:10 P.M. Planetarium show and found James Porter standing with this group of young men waiting impatiently for their first mission in the new Starship Galileo.  
     "The first crew to fly the new Galileo," James announced.  There was well earned pride in his voice.  Getting the Center's six starships up and running is quite a burden.  Each has its own challenges because each is different in its own way.  
     James saw me reach for my phone.  "Don't worry," he said holding out his hand. "I'll get a picture you can use on the blog."  
     James knows the importance I place on documenting Space Center history.  He feels the same way as you can tell from his many Facebook posts detailing the Center's accomplishments and achievements.  
     Today's Space Center is the work of hundreds of people over the last 30 years.  It is the District's showcase definition of school, business, and community partnerships.  All of us who currently, or who have ever in the past, played a part in what it is today, stand proud at what it has become.  It's our baby all grown up!

Thank you 
Mr. Williamson 

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy Prepares the Starship Voyager for Launch

Bracken and Gage, Renaissance Academy's tech, considering the installation of a 
new bridge printer and a mammoth subwoofer to really "Shake the Place!"

Bracken Funk and crew are no strangers to putting in long hours to meet their goals to have Renaissance Academy's Starship Voyager back to full service after the long Covid night and several months of school remodelling. Recently Bracken and family even spent an entire night working on the ship's multiple systems for a special program for a high school physics class. His two little kids slept in the control room while he and his wife Lajana tended to the work at hand. "I work best in long sprints," he explained when I found them in the Voyager again last Saturday afternoon.

     The Voyager's bridge looked like it had lost a battle with a Romulan Warbird when I walked in to check on them Saturday afternoon.  "Come check out these improvements and changes," Bracken said when he saw me.       

     "We've moved the bridge printer from the back to the front next to communications where it should be," he explained.    

     "We moved the front two stations back from the main viewer to give them a better view of the screen and to give the crew a quicker way to move from one side of the bridge to the other.  Good for security." 

Megan (left) and Lajana (right) at the back of the bridge.

     Megan Warner, set director for The Space Place's Starship Titan, was part of Bracken's Saturday crew.  You Voyager fans will see the Captain's tactical table with screen was moved to the back wall.  There are plans to put benches along the platforms giving the captain a place to bring the crew together for meetings and briefings.
     The Space Place's Voyager Club will reopen very soon.  The Voyager Club provides space education through multiple simulations using the Starship Voyager and InfiniD missions to Renaissance Academy's kindergarten - 8th grade students. Watch for more news to come.    

All the Simulators are Open at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

The Phoenix II Recently opened at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

     Simulator reservations are no longer limited to just families!

Welcome back birthday parties, team building activities, adult get togethers, and every other excuse to have a fun adventure.

You can find available dates and times on our website

Time Lapse Construction of the New Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central School 

Watch the construction of the new Christa McAuliffe Space Center and Central Elementary School from Beginning to end with this 5 minute time lapse video.  


The Odyssey's New Control Panel in Place and Ready for Use

Imaginarium Theater

This Week's Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter From The Good Folks at The Troubadour.

What can I say.... It was either him or me for that money egg.

Hello Troops,

It is a busy Easter so The Troubadour staff (all one of them) is using the day for eating mass quantities of food and participating in every Easter egg hunt I can find. I may be coming to your  home because my own family has barred me from hunting Easter eggs. I tend to get overly excited with a gentle shove here and a trip there to get rid of the competition. Yes there are tears with snotty noses but the little ones need to learn how to fight for what they want in today's world.  Have a great day and enjoy the new Imaginarium Theater with family and friends.  

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium  Theater

The Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Renaissance Space Academy is Now The Space Place at Renaissance Academy. The Starship Voyager's First Mission in a Year. Great Staff, Great Crew. From the Archives, Phoenix Disaster! Imaginarium Theater.

With the lifting of several Covid restrictions, Renaissance Academy is in the process of reopening the school's Space Academy with a new name for a new start. Let's all welcome The Space Place at Renaissance Academy into the Space EdVentures group of space centers.   

"Where did that name come from?" you ask.  Bracken Funk explained it to me this way.  "How many of our students and crew use The Space Place as the slang name for the Space Academy?  So I thought let's make it official and rebrand as The Space Academy. It's short, easily remembered, and right to the point.  We do space and we do it well. Let's be The Space Place!  

The name has grown on me over the last few weeks. I like it.  Yes, let's be The Space Place. The name is more kid and teen friendly than The Space Academy and that is who we serve through our Young Astronauts and Voyager Clubs. Besides, the school already uses the name academy in its name.  

Tune in weekly to The Troubadour to learn more about The Space Place and how you,your friends, and family can participate in our programs. And for you students at Renaissance Academy, those sounds you've heard coming from the Starship Voyager are a sign of great things to come.  

Mr. Williamson 

The Space Place Hosts High School Students from American Heritage School

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy
March 26, 2021

It was all go aboard the Starship Voyager at The Space Place on Friday. After three weeks of programming DMX lights, cleaning, reorganizing, debugging, intensive Thorium coding, installing massive subwoofers, and many minor cosmetic touches, the Starship Voyager flew for the first time Friday since the Covid shutdown last March.  The ship's shakedown crew came from Alex DeBirk's high schoolers from American Heritage School in American Fork. The students were involved in their school's science and physics camp. The mission was the cumulativing event of the camp.   

The crew flew a mission written by Alex DeBirk. The mission was designed to incorporate complex physics problems specifically written to challenge this group of gifted students. 

Bracken and Lejana Funk staffed the mission.  Bracken reimagined the standard concept of a mission control room by programming Thorium to do many ship tasks automatically thus freeing up the flight director to focus more on the students and less on the controls, sounds, and videos.  Bracken monitored the controls. Alex Debirk was Flight Director with control of the microphone and sound effects.  This method of flying opens the door for many of the Space Center's retired flight directors to return from time to time to run missions without needing to learn how to operate the ship's controls. 

With the success of this first mission, The Space Place and it's flagship Voyager is preparing for .............. let me finish that sentence with a few lines from the movie "2010: The Year We Make Contact"

Here are a few pictures of the Voyager's return to space last Friday. 

 The long walk from the Transition Room to the Voyager's Bridge.

A few turns later and you find yourself on the bridge

The Voyager's Bridge. 

Left Forward Bridge. Right Aft Bridge where the 
Command Tactical Station is located

From the Archives. Ten Years Ago This Month

SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2011

The Phoenix has a New View Screen (And Other Things)

Hello Troops,
We had a good weekend punctuated with a couple hiccups. Alex stopped me as I walked into the office Friday evening. It was almost 6:00 P.M. and I had several things I needed to do for the Overnight Camp at 7:00 P.M.

"Our main viewer is down. I couldn't get it to turn on." Alex was neck deep in a Phoenix private mission so he had to speak quickly. "I'm using the two side TV's only."

I asked if he'd clicked the input button on the remote. He said he had but I wasn't convinced. I'm usually pretty good at making what some classify as impossible, possible. I found the remote, walked into the ship, told the kids to carry on and pretend I wasn't there and fiddled with the viewer. It was obvious the TV had power - the red light on the front control panel flickered whenever I pushed a remote button, but no matter what I did, no matter which button combination I pushed, that TV wouldn't cooperate. I pronounced it DOA when I came out of the ship.

I was left with one choice - I had to purchase another TV for the Phoenix. The old set would be removed and taken to the repair shop for diagnosis. If it could be repaired at a reasonable cost then it would be. If it couldn't, then it would be carted off to recycling - or whatever else you do with dead large screen TVs.

The Phoenix private mission ended at 7:00 P.M. That gave Dave and Alex just 20 minutes or so to come up with an alternative plan for the Overnight camp. They found an old 24 inch TV in the Animation Studio and installed it. Mind you, it looked odd having this large wall of black plastic with a 24 inch screen shining through but would the campers know? Most likely they wouldn't - thinking what they saw was how the ship was designed.

The second hiccup was discovered around 8:00 P.M. Several volunteers failed to show up to work the camp. That immediately put us into 'problem solving' mode. Within fifteen minutes we had the problem worked out. I want to thank Erick B. for answering the email call for additional staff and coming when he did. It made a big difference.

Saturday morning I called Brady Young, a Voyager Flight Director and a member of Best Buy's Geek Squad, and explained the problem. Brady said he would talk to the store's manager and see if they would sell us a TV at cost. He called back saying he'd worked out a deal.

Later that afternoon, Bill Schuler picked me up in his truck and we drove to Lehi's Best Buy. We met Brady near the Geek Squad's area. He introduced me to the asst. manager and we worked out a deal. One thousand dollars later and we were out the door with a nice 47 inch LCD television for the Phoenix's main viewer. We got back to the Space Center just as the afternoon mission was wrapping up.

The Center closed at 5:00 P.M. Alex and Jon stayed until 7:30 P.M. installing the new TV. It wasn't easy, considering the number of cables that had to be stretched across the Phoenix's ceiling.

The new TV is in and, according to Alex, looks awesome!

"There is one problem," Alex said when he called me to deliver the news. "Whenever we switch between inputs, the TV displays the word 'Component' in the corner for a few seconds. It's something we can't make go away so it will be something we have to live with."
Alex and Jon will come up with some "sci fi" explanation for the word's appearance in the context of the Phoenix being a starship etc. We are good and dishing out the bull when necessary.

I'm anxious to see the TV in action on Monday. I hope it's worth the $1000 paid. I want to thank Bill, Alex and Jon for helping with this small crisis.

Mr. Williamson

Imaginarium Theater

The Best Videos From Around the World Edited for a Gentler Audience 


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Natalie Anderson Publishes her First Book. CMSC Employee Wins State Competition. From the Archives: Honor's Night March 2011. Imaginarium Theater.

Celebrating The People in the Space EdVenturing Community.  Natalie Anderson (CMSC)

The Space Center (CMSC) has some amazingly talented staff, one of them is Natalie Anderson. You may have had her as your Odyssey flight director and experienced the imaginative talent and acting range she possess. Today we rejoice with Natalie Anderson (published as Natalie Brianne) as her book is published and available to the public. Congratulations on reaching this point after years of hard work Natalie.

Celebrating The People in the Space EdVenturing Community.  Nathan Ford (CMSC)

Celebrating success carries on as we congratulate the CMSC's newest employee, Nathan Ford and his teammates (Pictured: Matthew, Jayden, Nathan, Elijah) for taking 1st place at the TSA (Technology Student Association) high school state competition in the animatronics and coding categories representing Westlake High School.
     For animatronics, the team spent hundreds of hours making a robotic river otter exhibit for a Natural History Museum. It has moving targets and you "shoot" the trash to clean up the river. For coding, they were the only team to successfully complete all of the challenges in the allotted time--as sophomores! They get to represent the state of Utah at the National TSA competition in Washington D.C. this summer. 
    The river otter project will be on display at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center for more people to see their impressive work. You can see some of Nathan's talents already in the CMSC's simulators as he has been helping to imagineer new engineering panels.

From the Archives: Ten Years Ago This Month


Space Center Honors.

Hello Troops,
We've had a few recognitions recently that I'd like to post so everyone can celebrate the good things that happen here at the Space Center.

     This is Mr. Daymont. He likes soda. He likes soda so much that one is never enough. In this picture you see him reaching for my soda.
     "Want!" he said with hand outstretched.
     "No. One is enough," I answered as I snapped the picture. What followed wasn't pretty. He doesn't take kindly to "No". Especially if it involves a sugary snack.
     If you see Mark on your next visit to the Center, be sure to stop and thank him for his hard work on your behalf. One work of advice, be sure to hide all sweets before approaching. He has a keen sense of smell and can sniff out a carbohydrate from ten feet.

     This is a picture of Natalie, Christine and Mark. Christine is giving us the thumbs up. She and Natalie just finished cleaning Mark's face. Someone stupidly gave him a handful of M and M's for an especially enthusiastic clap when the staff took the Magellan Bridge as Orion Pirates. Luckily he didn't mess up his Space Center shirt.

     We're celebrating the February birthdays in this picture. We celebrate staff birthdays at the end of every month. The reasoning is sound. Mrs. Houston only has to bake one cake.  We also save money on candles. Then there's the singing of "Happy Birthday to You". If you've ever heard the staff sing then you'd be grateful we only sing once a month. Anything more than that could result in a visit from the PG police department. Then there is the problem of birds dropping dead from the sky around the school. Our singing is a real nasty business.

     This is Mrs. Houston, a Space Center educator. She looks a bit disheveled because of the singing moments earlier. I'm still gritting my teeth. Not to worry, my jaw relaxes before I'm needed to run the next mission.

     And now the recognitions. Miranda was awarded her Year of Service Pin. She's still shivering form the singing fifteen minutes earlier (and I'm still gritting my teeth).

     Miranda is receiving her Odyssey Pin from Emily. Great job Miranda. Emily on the other hand, received a warning for wearing long johns under her Space Center shirt. She complains about the cold, but is that any excuse for punishing us with protruding long johns?

     This is Bro. Alex congratulating Jordan on receiving his Phoenix Pin. Jordan is actually taller than Bro. Alex, but because of Bro. Alex's temperament, Jordan stoops down to keep his head lower than Bro. Alex's.
     You're asking about Bro. Alex's smile? Alex is preparing for missionary service. We've been working with him on his people skills. That smile is the result of three months work. Do you like it?

     This is Jace. Jace was awarded his Voyager Pin on this particular camp. Jace has been working on his Voyager pass since the 5th grade. It was a joy to finally get to give him is pin, especially considering he's an 8th grader now at PG Junior (my jaw is beginning to relax).
     Thanks to our Awesome Staff and Volunteers. 

Mr. W.


Wednesday's Thoughts

Hello Troops,
     All is well on the front lines at the Space Education Center. Our forces engaged the Ignoraemii in heavy combat today. We reclaimed the innocent from enslavement using heavy doses of imagination and electrical jolts to restart cognitive thought processes. Yes, It's what we do.
     The battle is still being fought as I type. Jon leads the Voyager's forces. Alex is sounding the trumpet in the Phoenix while Ben urges his Galileo troops over the top to engage the enemy with bayonets drawn. It is a wonder to behold.
     I had the District Metal Shop build a new addition to the Captain's Loft. It was installed on Tuesday. In the following two pictures Jace demonstrates the correct exit from the Captain's Lounge using the new ladder.
     You'll see the new carpeted platform at the exit (or entrance). This gives Jace room to turn around and descend the ladder if he's coming out of the Loft. Once again, done with the safety of our staff and crew in mind.

Alex started the work of installing a couple new cameras in the Galileo this afternoon. The one camera currently in the simulator doesn't cut it.

     We had fun hosting students from Foothill Elementary in Orem and the John Hancock Charter School in Pleasant Grove on Tuesday. Both teams worked well through their respective missions. John Hancock's Captain was very good and Foothill's Ambassador was outstanding.
     Foothill had a few students with unusual names never heard before at the Space Center.
Gomer (Yes, like Gomer Pyle from the 1960's TV show)
Egbert and
     It was refreshing to see those unique names. I think its time to bring back other odd and unusual names that went out of style long ago (or perhaps never were in style). I'd like to see more Georges (we had one last week. First in a long while). I'm also thinking of Fred, Wilma, Betty, Elmer, Hank, Mildred, Luella, Minerva, Abigail, etc.

Mr. Williamson

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