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

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Upgrades to the Farpoint Universe Visual Effects and News of Great Things to Come in Space EdVentures Software. Alex Anderson Visits the Voyager. Imaginarium Theater

Hello Space Fans,

Last week I received and email from Dr. Ryan Anderson. He is the director of Telos Discovery Space Center and a co-founder of Telos U.  He gave me an update on the newest special effects being created for the Farpoint Universe.  Farpoint is the science fiction universe used by Telos U, The Space Place at Renaissance Academy, and the Space Center at American Heritage School in American Fork.  The effects were done using Unity and illustrate the direction we are going in mission development. 

Ryan's email also included news of Dimension X, the company started by his Unity developer friends from Lockheed.  Dimension X will be creating starship simulation software which will give those who want to create space travel simulations the tools necessary to accomplish their goals.  Check out the links he gives in the following email:       

We are continuing to upgrade the quality of our visuals for tacticals. I have included a link to a video that shows the current state of our visuals and animation. We are learning to use Unity a lot better. This one shows some improvements in the use of lighting, particle physics, and animation in general. 

Dimension X, the company started by our Unity developer friends from Lockheed, has now launched its website, which clearly includes its work that it is doing in partnership with us (look under the "services" tab). Our hope is that Dimension X will provide the tools that space simulation companies--and many more people who want to create and share their own Space Center experiences--can use to be successful. You can find Dimension X at
Friends, please take a moment to visit their website to learn more about Dimension X. 

Alex Anderson, The Founder of Thorium, Visits the Starship Voyager at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy.  It was A Walk Down Memory Lane.

Natalie, Alex, and Bracken on the Voyager

Last week I got to catch up on old times with my good friend Alex Anderson.  Alex worked for me all those years ago at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center.  Alex was in the Starship Voyager's design and wiring from day 1. In his spare time he got married, moved to Boston, and has a baby daughter.  Alex was in town visiting family. 

I found the old ladder used in the original Voyager's bridge sleeping quarters / sick bay / captain's quarters being used in the new Voyager's brig / decon. Apparently it has been their for awhile. I've just not noticed.

Alex is big brother to Natalie Anderson, the Odyssey's Set Director at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.  Natalie accompanied Alex as driver :)

Natalie Anderson reminiscing about the turning doors of the old Space Center.
The Voyager uses two of the doors as part of the starship set.

As many of you know, Alex is the creator of Thorium - the software every Space EdVenture Center in Utah County uses to operate their starship simulators.  This fact alone makes him a legend.  Of course we talked about the good old days. Of course we talked about the new Thorium he is developing (in his spare time).  

Speaking on behalf of every employee, volunteer, and patron of the various space centers in Utah County, I want to thank Alex for Thorium. Without it I don't know where we would be regarding operational starship software.  

Alex is a gentleman and scholar.  It was good to see you again.   


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

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Converting A School for Summer Space Camp. Learn About Two Companies that Trace Their Beginnings to the Space Center and This Week's Imaginarium Theater

The Starship Voyager Control Room. Please Forgive Livy for eating during the photo.  I 
came with cupcakes and Livy couldn't resist.
Renaissance Academy, Lehi

Converting a School Building for summer space camps is something that happens yearly at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy in Lehi.  With teachers and students gone for the summer, the school's halls, classrooms, and gym are perfect locations for those favorite "away mission" story elements.  An "away mission" gives the campers a break from the starship bridge. The venture out into the darkened school hallways to explore, retrieve, or discover.  

The Space Place's staff and volunteers await the campers in character be it as aliens, or human characters in the mission's storyline.     

The Space Place volunteer staff for the June 8th space camp just about to
get dressed for their away mission characters

dark plastic curtains are hung to section off away mission areas and to prevent campers
from seeing the 'real world' through the school's doors

tables are handy obstructions to give the campers places to hide while they
maneuver through the set. 

The school's hallways are decorated with special mood lighting and other set pieces to create atmosphere. 

In one of this summer's missions, the campers are on a search to find a revolutionary formula to change the very nature of the warp field for faster than light speed.  Brayden was tasked with creating the formula and detailing it on a classroom whiteboard for the campers to discover during an away mission. 

The Space Place at Renaissance Academy offers summer space themed camps for students in grades 3 - 9.  Visit the website to learn more and to sign up.  The staff and volunteers are waiting to give you an out of this world experience you'll always remember.  

Celestial Horizons and StormTeam Simulations; Two Company that Trace Their Beginnings to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center 

Nathan taking the Odyssey Set Directorship and James and Christine Smith 

Nathan Young is the Creative Director of Celestial Horizons and former Odyssey Set Director.  He, along with retired Space Center greats Christine and James Smith, are a few of the original founders of the company.  The following is a description of the company, its mission, and goals taken from the company's website:  

At its heart, Celestial Horizons is a story—a story of humanity on the edge of space, trying to find its way back home to a past it thought it knew. It’s a story about the nations caught at the collision between a new world and the one they left behind. It’s a story about the people at the forefront of history, trying to shape the future into everything it should be.  

Celestial Horizons is a community-driven event, responding to the actions of everybody who decides to get involved. Audience members will have the opportunity to step into this story in a variety of roles, such as members of the government, crews of the ships, or intelligence operatives. You will act as diplomats, explorers, and soldiers. Your actions become canon in our extended universe, permanently shaping the course of the story.  

It’s a story that’s being told through a wide variety of formats. We’re making podcasts, blog posts, and videos. It’s told through emails, in chat rooms, and during live streams. We’re in the process of making it a weekly live-streamed web series, featuring a starship simulator, high-quality animation, and a cast of talented and engaging performers. Eventually, you and your friends will be able to step onto the bridge of your own ship at an official simulator facility. One day, you’ll be able to take that simulator home.


On May 24 Nathan released a video to answer the question, "Who is Celestial Horizons?"  In that video, Nathan talks about his time at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center and the impact that time has had on his life. It is a tribute to the Space Center's vision and the role the Center's volunteering program has on the many who volunteer and staff the simulators.  Please take a moment to watch this 3.5 minute video.  


StormTeam Simulations an Upcoming New Organization in the Space EdVenturing Community

Hello Space EdVenturers! 

     Many of you older Space EdVenturers remember Jordan Foutin from his days at the Space Center I.  Recently Jordan informed me of a new project he has undertaken, StormTeam Simulations which he expects to launch later this year. 

Jordan working IIfx in the Voyager.

That's old Mr. Williamson working the microphone :)

  Jordan’s space center career began in the early 2000s after he participated in field trip experiences in the original USS VoyagerJordan demonstrated strong leadership qualities and storytelling skills and joined us as a high school intern as a Voyager supervisor. As is sometimes necessary, Jordan earned a rapid battle-field promotion to Flight Director for the field trip program. From there he took on private missions and overnight camps.  He trained as a Phoenix flight director. Jordan proudly served as a regular flight director for several years. In February 2010, he took a temporary hiatus to pursue an undergraduate college degree in Oregon with course work tailored to support his space center career plans. 

  Jordan returned to Utah in 2013 and worked at the Discovery Space Center when it was located at Stonegate Center for the Arts in Pleasant Grove. He flight directed the UCS Columbia and was reaffirmed his skills as an outstanding storyteller and leader. Seeing an opportunity for a corporate communications training model, Jordan returned to university to pursue his MBA and develop his vision which has become StormTeam Simulations. 

     StormTeam Simulations’ primary for-profit focus will be corporate communication training. The company will similarly offer year-round private group entertainment events to the public. StormTeam Simulations' initial simulator fleet and launch date will be announced on StormTeam Simulations’ Official Facebook page, and on The Troubadour. 

  Jordan completed his undergraduate in communication and technology and completed his MBA in May 2022.

  Jordan’s novel, STORMTEAMis available for pre-order on and will be published on July 4, 2022. 

StormTeam Simulations' Official Website

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Facebook page

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Twitter page

StormTeam Simulations’ Official Instagram page

Imaginarium Theater

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

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Christa McAuliffe Space Center's First Officer's Camp, A Success. New Volunteers Join the Space Center Ranks. Imaginarium Theater.

BattleSim Training

     The Christa McAuliffe Space Center held its first Officer's Camp last week. While still a day camp, the Officer's Camp gives the camper four class sessions before the camp's extended mission. Fifty campers arrived for the full day experience.

                                                BattleSim Training

     Silver Perry (Phoenix Set Director) was The Troubadour's reporter on duty that day and filed the following breakdown of the camp's events. 

                                                   BattleSim Training

The First Officer's Camp
     The Space Center's first Officer's Camp when from 8:30ish A.M. to 8:30/8:40 P.M. We had a full house (minus 2 kids), with all ships flying at or really close to max capacity. 
    The camp started with four rotation classes.

     - Leadership Training (Led by Wes K., Magellan FD) 
     - Security training (Led by Tyler G., Magellan FD) 
     - Planetarium activity/show (led by Gracelyn U., Navigator and Falcon trainee) 
     - Battle Gaming Simulations (led by Hyrum S., Cassini FD trainee and supervisor). 

BattleSim Training

     The volunteers helping for the rotations were Aiden, Kayla, Jackson, Micah, and Max.  The rotations went from 9 to 12:40ish, including lunch.  After lunch, the campers were divided up into simulators. The missions started at 1:10 P.M. Some of the flight directors greeted their crews in character as a member of the ship's crew, something I hope to keep doing for officer camps to help immerse them as much as possible.
     The simulator staff for the Officer Level Flights were: 

     - Tyler G flew Paradise Lost in the Magellan with Cecily and Wes as supervisors
     - Ian flew Rules of Engagement in the Cassini with Ellie and Hyrum as supervisors (and I believe Kaleen was training) 
     - Natalie flew The Edge Principle in the Odyssey 
     - Brylee-Ann flew Zero Hour in the Galileo
     - Mr. Porter (with JJ training) flew Hearsay in the Falcon.
     - I flew Fatal Error in the Phoenix. 

Leadership Training / Team Building

     We ran the camp seriously short of volunteers (only 7 signed up to help with the camp to work between all 6 simulators).  I called in a few backups to help with the Phoenix flight. Thank you Aaron K, Hayden and Scott for jumping in and helping.  Our awesome volunteers for the camp were; Aiden, Jackson, Kayla, Max, Micah, Michael P, Michael W, and Oliver. 

                            Leadership Training / Team Building

     The flights went from 1:10 to 8:00 P.M. We took a 45 minute dinner / outside time break at 5:30 P.M.  The campers went home at 8:00 P.M. The staff and volunteers stayed to review the camp. 

Security Training

     The Phoenix (barely) took the camp with a 98.29. Right at our heels was the Cassini with a 98.18. I took a picture for the full breakdown that I'll attach to this email. 

Some other smaller general notes of interest are:
     - BattleSim was a huge hit (all the rotations were, but BattleSim had gone under a huge remake going from digital to more of a physical board game style) 
     - You (Mr. Williamson) brought donuts and because one of the campers had to come and go a few times during the mission, the camper's mom brought us Crumbl cookies as a thank you for being accommodating. 
- The bridge supervisors were all in character helping out the kids which sounded like it went really well. 
- I don't know exactly what everyone did, but it sounded like most of the flight directors and supervisors pulled out some last second additional scenes or away missions to fill the extra mission time.
     All in all, this summer's first Officer's Camp was a success. 

- Silver

New Volunteers Start With Mission Observations

New Volunteers at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center

     Tabitha Ricks got a new gaggle of Space Center volunteers off to a good start by bringing in to do their required mission observations this last week. All new volunteers are required to do a mission observation at both the CMSC and The Space Place at Renaissance Academy. An observation gives the volunteer a chance to see what happens behind the scenes. They meet flight directors, supervisors, and other volunteers and can ask questions.  This group of new volunteers has a father / daughter starting together. What a great opportunity for a parent to enjoy an activity with a child.

Matt Ricks and Daughter

     Speaking of fathers and daughters, waiting patiently for mom to finish with the new volunteers is Matt Ricks and daughter.  "Give her a few more years and she'll be here doing her observation," Matt said. "She's a Space Center baby. It is in her blood."  
     A Space Center baby is a youngling born to parents who met while working at the Space Center. There are a growing number of Space Center babies out there and all are duty bound to put in their time for the cause when they reach the age :)

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

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Christa McAuliffe Space Center Honors Staff and Volunteers and Prepares for the Summer Camp Season. Imaginarium Theater

      An Honors Event was held at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center on Friday, May 27th.  I usually refer to these events as Honor's Nights, but considering the gala was held at 10:00 A.M. in the Center's planetarium, the title Honor's Night doesn't apply.

     Tabitha Ricks oversees the Center's volunteer organization and MC'd the event.  There were many honors bestowed and recognitions given so let's get right to it.....

The Founder's Recognition Award

     It was my pleasure to present the Founder's Recognition Award to James Porter at the Honor's Night of May 27 for his years of service and dedication to the Space Center. 

     This award merited a full fledged, written speech and James got one.  He is a remarkable man whose kindness and leadership has kept the Space Center in steady water through the rough times of demolishing the old center and the construction and opening of the new.  Everyone who works with James appreciates his vision and commanding hand as the Space Center continues to new and better things. 
     Because of James, I know that the Space Center is in the safest, capable hands.  He is one of the few people on the planet who has the talent, skill set, knowledge, creativity, education, background, and imagination needed to run an education center like the CMSC.  
     In addition to being a good friend, I can also say that James is an excellent boss. I work for James as a part time Cassini Flight Director in addition to my full time position at Renaissance Academy and The Space Place. I usually fly the Saturday morning 10:00 A.M. flight along with a few camps when my schedule opens up during the summer months.  Both Jon, James, and Bracken (The Space Place) are patient with me and do their best to teach an old dog new tricks :)
     Congratulation James and again, thank you for everything you do as we all strive to create a space faring civilization through our work at the Christa McAuliffe Space Center.

Now, the Rest of the Awards and Honors...  

1.  Welcome to the newest volunteers to join the ranks.

     The Space Center Celebrates new volunteers and greatly appreciates their time, talents and enthusiasm.  I am proud to see new adult volunteers in the mix.  Volunteering at the Space Center isn't just for the young.  Volunteering is for the Young at Heart!  

2.  The Galileo Honored.....

Rylan accepted a Galileo pin from Brylee Perry.  He is certified to work both the ship's bridge and the control room.


3.  The Phoenix Honored....

     Scott presented a Phoenix pin to Audrey and Hayden and offered them both his sincere congratulations on sticking it out to the end despite the many obstacles he placed along their path.

4.  The Odyssey Honored.....

     Rylan accepted the Odyssey Pin from Natalie.  That's two ships in one Honor's Event.  Good Job Rylan! 

5.  The Magellan Honored

    Connor was thrilled to present a Magellan pin to Kayla.  Both Kayla and Rylan were in and out of their seats accepting awards throughout the event.  

6.  The Cassini Honored...

     Yes, its Rylan again!  Rylan was easily the most decorated volunteer of the event.  When he sets a goal he sticks with it until the job is done.  Oh, and that's Jon doing the presentation.  Jon is the Cassini Set Director and all around good guy.  

7.  The Falcon Honored...

     Tabitha had the honor of presenting the very first Falcon pass off pin to Kayla.  Kayla has set a high standard for others to follow.  

8.  Apprentice Level Volunteers

     The following earned their Apprentice Level Volunteering Patch:  Michael P., Kayla H., Hazel W., Emily W., and Eli E.

9.  Starfighter Level Volunteers.
     The following earned their Apprentice Level Volunteering Patch:  Lexie T., Michael P.,  Kayla H., Hazel W., Emily W., and Eli E.

10.  Hitchhiker Level Volunteer.

     Rylan reached the Hitchhiker Volunteer Level at this Honor's Event.  Can we just say that Rylan stole the show with Kayla in a close second?  

11.  Defender of the Universe Volunteer Level...

     Earning the Defender of the Universe Award was Hyrum S. and Henson D.  Henson was absent. 

12.  New Trainees...

     New Trainees are:  Jackson, Rylan, JJ, Kaleen, and Gracelyn.  A new trainee is someone learning to become either a paid supervisor or a flight director. 

13.  A New Member of the Staff Ranks....

     JeWell was absent at the event.  JeWell is joining the Education Department.

14.  A New Assistant Director...

     Mr. Porter proudly announced the promotion of Jason to Asst. Director overseeing Planetarium operations.  Jason has been working in the planetarium for several months and is quite familiar with all Space Center operations.  He will be replacing Dug Pusey who will be retiring at the end of the summer. Congratulations Jason!  

15.  A Moment of Silence for the Space Center's Newest Time Lord.  Scott Wiltbank "Scoot" in the Third Person Please.

Sorry for the black and White photo. The glare of pride and accomplishment  coming from Scott was too much for my iphone.

     Scott Wiltbank was welcomed into Time Lord Fellowship at the Honor's Event by James Porter.  You don't get higher than the Time Lord Years of Service Patch.  It trumps all other levels and gives you the right to strut around the Center as if you own it.  Trust me, I do :)     Congratulations Scott! 

16.  The 15 Years of Service Award...

     Jon Parker was given a somewhat new award, the 15 Years of Service bike reflector accessory award.  Bizarre is the first word that comes to mind, but there is a story behind the award having to do with the old staff, my home, a wand and tiara, and a disturbed evening.  Ask Jon...

The Rest of the Honor's Event...

After the awards, the staff and volunteers gathered in the planetarium 
lobby for 360 degree photo.

Recognize these two old timers?  Natalie, Connor, and I hung out in the 
foyar talking old times.  Natalie is an accomplished author in addition to her job as Odyssey Set Director.  Connor is an accomplished organist and spends the school year in North Carolina. He is he Magellan's Set Director.

The staff and volunteers played games in the foyer during the lunch break

Jade and James.  Jade is another long time Space Center veteran who works at the Space Center part time in addition to his full time work in IT.  We have a good core of older adult staff and volunteers. 

Scott led an afternoon workshop on battle tactics gaming - something fun to be offered to the campers this summer camp season.

Volunteer and staff training continue throughout the afternoon. This session was held in the planetarium.

Of course, not everyone was excited about the workshops.  Ellie and Hayden hung out in the Cassini Control Room and worked on projects.

Audrey found a nice place to crash in the Cassini Control Room. 

Starship Landing Party Security Training was held in the gym

Starship Landing Party Security Training was held in the gym

Starship Landing Party Security Training was held in the gym

Oh, it looks like Jon has arrived and cracked the whip.
"Everyone Back to Work! Camps start next week."

It was time for Bombardment when the Workshops ended.  
Jon carefully reviewed the rules.

Setting a proper example for one gets out.  Hand up and leave the floor graciously.

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