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

Sunday, October 30, 2022

5 Odyssey Set Directors Together in One Place! It Will Bring a Tear to Your Eye. Flightmares at The Space Place: Another Year, Another Success! Meet the Last of the Young Astronauts. This Week's Imaginarium Theater

     The Troubadour welcomes Matt Ricks onto our staff with his first article below. Matt is well suited for the job based on his demonstrated mastery of Space Center trivia and history. In fact, Matt and Sir Kyle Herring EOT (Old Timer Extraordinaire), are the Space Center's resident historians. Both have in their temperature and humidity controlled vaults items held in trust for that day when the Space Center opens a museum. 

     Matt is married to Tabitha. Tabitha is the Space Center's volunteer coordinator / supervisor. This conveniently gives The Troubadour feet on the ground for the most recent and juiciest news.  Welcome Matt!  We look forward to hearing from you regularly. 

     Are you interested in joining our staff?  The Troubadour needs reporters and photographers at all the space centers. Remember, I'm getting old and don't get around as much as I use to :)  

A Disturbance in the Space Time Continuum at Jordan and Brylee's Reception 

     This is The Troubador's field reporter Rick Matthews here, with a news story of a recent spacetime disruption.  

The Odyssey's Great and Power
Left to Right: Mitch, Natalie, Nathan, Tabitha, and Christine

     Two weeks ago, I received an assignment from HQ to report on a known upcoming spacetime event.  According to the monitoring station that watches for major events, marriages between Space Center kind usually cause quite the disturbance.  I was tasked to go to the source and monitor the situation, and report back any interesting findings or news.  In this case, the event was Jordan and Brylee's wedding.
     As I was en route to the event, I received a message from HQ, "The readings from the event are already exceeding our forecasts.  Something bigger is happening there.  We are deploying additional reporters."
     As I arrived, I noticed the "bossman" reporter pull in as well, who must have been sent in by HQ.  He may seem feeble, but he quickly hobbled toward the entrance of the reception before me.  As he walked past with his tricorder in hand, we nodded to each other.  We both knew this was going to be a remarkable event.
     I pulled out my own trusty tricorder before I walked in to make sure I got all the data I could.  As I walked in I could tell that something was different about the festivities.  I'd been to Space Center weddings before, but at this one, there was an unusual readings coming from some of the attendees.
     As I mingled with the other wedding goers, I began to find out why the readings were so high.  In attendance at the wedding reception, was not one, not two, not even three, but five Odyssey Set Directors past and current.  They eventually found each other.  Luckily I was on scene to capture the moment when the spacetime disturbance was the greatest.
     After snapping the photo, I quickly tried to scatter them.  According to my tricorder readings, spacetime was beginning to warp, and any additional time in such close proximity could be the start of a nova event.  Before I scattered them, they insisted on one last photo together.

     Of course you can't become a set director of the Odyssey without being a little bit of an oddity yourself.
    It was a near miss for disaster; a close attempt by Fortuna to wreak havoc.  After I reported my findings to HQ, I realized why this gathering of set directors was so significant.  It is amazing to consider that with this group of 5 set directors, their time at the Space Center spans almost 10 years, 3 different physical sets of the Odyssey, 2 different school buildings, 3 different directors of the Space Center, thousands of crew members, countless hours flown, and a dozen or so new and unique stories.
     There were 2 set directors missing from the decade lineup there that night.  I was able to compile a short report of Odyssey Heads over the past 10 years.

Christine: 2011-2013
Emily: 2012-2013
Tabitha: 2014-2016
Devin: 2016-2016
Natalie: 2016-2017
Nathan: 2017-2018
Natalie: 2018-2022
Mitch: 2022-Present

     In addition to the 5 Odyssey Set directors, there were at least 5 other set directors of other ships present at the reception as well.
     When all is said and done, the festivities were lively, the refreshment were consumed, and we wish the newlywed couple to live long, and prosper.  It truly takes an influential couple to bring so many notable space center folk together.  And so we wait for the next major ripple in the continuum...

Flightmares at The Space Place. Another Successful Season!

The crew from that abandoned starship, you know, the 
one your mother told you never to beam aboard.

     Last night was the last night for The Space Place's Flightmares Halloween Spectacular.  Flightmares were held most Friday and Saturday nights throughout October. The program is a tradition at Renaissance Academy.  The 5 hour long missions are geared to scare the outer space Bejeebers out of the crews.  

The Unlucky Captain

     It's all hands on deck for Flightmares.  The staff often outnumber the crewmembers.  A make up artist is on hand to add that special touch to the volunteer and staff's space zombie appearance. 

The Unlucky First Officer

     Don't worry if you missed this year's production.  Halloween will be back again in a year's time and so will Flightmares. 

These two did a great job wondering around the school
in the dark. They are masters of "That Walk" zombies do.
I believe they watched an episode of "The Walking Dead" to 
get it down just right :)
The Last of the Young Astronaut Squadrons.  Finally...

     Today I'd like to introduce you to the final two Young Astronaut squadrons at Renaissance Academy's The Space Place.  In total you've meet 207 Young Astronauts and Voyager Club cadets.  They are spread out in 24 squadrons of between 7 and 10 members each covering grades 3 to 9.
     Lejana Funk (Bracken's wife) is the captain of both squadrons.  All 3rd grade squadrons have either an adult or a high school student as captain.                                                         

The 3rd Grade Tiger Squadron

The 3rd Grade Scorpion Squadron

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

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Another Space Center Wedding: Jordan Smith and Brylee Perry. May They Live Long and Prosper. Meet MORE Young Astronauts at The Space Place. Pictures of Never to be Forgotten Staff and Volunteers


Brylee and Jordan

     Their story together as man and wife began on a dark and stormy night.....
     Not a very good beginning to their life together right?  Well, not to worry. Even though it was stormy and cold outside it was warm and cozy inside the reception for Brylee and Jordan.  I found the couple preparing to move into place for the reception. I have a standing policy to arrive at receptions at the exact starting time for logical reasons; 1) no line so you can go right up to the couple to pay your respects and offer sincere congratulations and 2) get to the good refreshments before they're picked over by the hoard of younglings soon to arrive (LDS receptions in particular).  
     If my memory is correct, Jordan and Brylee are the fifth or maybe the sixth Space Center wedding.  Remember Jordan's older brother James, a former flight director, married Christine, an Odyssey Set Director, several years ago. Space Center romances were something I expected when I started the program way back when which is why I kept a close eye on anything that looked suspicious.  And yet, couples who are meant to be always find a way to meet.
     Brylee works at the Space Center as both a Galileo Flight Director and planetarium presenter.  Jordan was the Phoenix Set Director until several months ago when he took a programming job planetside.  

     A Space Center wedding always brings out the staff and volunteers and last night's was no exception.  Huddled together throughout the venue I found current and former staff catching up on life in general.  How many in this large scrum parked in the very center of the hall can you recognize?  Shall I help?  Left to right... Natalie, Nathan, Matt, Matt and Tabitha's baby, Tabitha (Matt and Tabitha are another Space Center couple) Silver (Brylee's brother) Jon, Maeson, Sydney, Scott, Orion, and Lindsey.  It boggles one's mind to think of how many missions they've either directed or staffed over the last decade or two!   

     Blocking the free flow of guests isn't a good thing so the group found their way to the refreshment table, loaded up, and hijacked a table to continue their discussions.  
     Isn't it great to see how life long friendships are made at the Space Center? Honestly, volunteering at the Space Center is the best thing a young teen could do with their spare time - which is how all of these find folks got their start. 
     The Troubadour wishes both Jordan and Brylee long life and prosperity as they venture forth into a life together. And if younglings to happen to arrive, then remember the clause in your Space Center contracts committing you to start them as volunteers upon reaching the age of 13. The traditions must be passed on to future generations until interstellar travel is real and our goal of building a space faring civilization has been fulfilled.

Mr. Williamson

Meet Last Week's Young Astronauts.  Yes, It is Another New Crop.  And Yes, They Keep Coming and Coming. Remember There are Over 200 of Them at The Space Place.

Say "Hello" to the 3rd Grade Lion Squadron. High School student Mark is their captain. Mark is a former Young Astronaut at The Space Place and a member of the staff

And a "Hello" to the 4th Grade Phoenix squadron. They did a great job especially being a couple crew short.  Our Young Astronaut on the left end proves that space travel can be dangerous 

And another "Hello" to the 4th Grade Tiger Squadron.
They meet Friday afternoons from 12:45 P.M. to 2:45 P.M.
They had a new member of the club as captain. He did a 
smashing job!

Meet the Great Staff and Volunteers from the Past.  October 2004


Stacy Carroll, Metta Smith and Richard Orcutt in the Magellan at the end of a mission. The Space Center pins on their collars signified how many years they worked. The other pin you see on Stacy's collar indicated her rank.  Are these old uniforms still being used today?

In the Magellan Control Room, Bridger Maxwell is standing. Scott Slaugh is the blue shirt and Jessica is the volunteer in black.

Mr. Williamson looking all high and mighty in the cafeteria.
It's Saturday morning and the campers have just finished eating breakfast on the overnight camp.  The staff are finishing up the grub.  Scott Slaugh, Taylor Herring, and Spencer Robinson are behind me.

Josh Babb (Green shirt) and Bridger Maxwell in the Discovery Room.  Bridger is showing off his newly found muscles 
after helping put the sleeping cots away.

Bridger Maxwell

Scott Slaugh

The staff are putting away the cots from the overnight
mission. Taylor Herring is holding the cot. Bradyn Bodily is in the black shirt at the back. 

The staff slept in the Galileo from time to time.

Lorraine Houston was our overnight camp chaperone 
for over 20 years!

It's nearly midnight and the staff are just finishing off 
cake and ice cream before heading off to bed on the
overnight camp.

And finally, Josh Babb in the Magellan Control Room.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Meet More Young Astronauts. Say Hello to More of the Awesome Staff of Yesteryear. See Pictures of the First Starship Phoenix Under Construction. This Week's Imaginarium Theater

 Meet Last Week's Young Astronauts

Introducing more Young Astronaut squadrons at The Space Place at Renaissance Academy.  Here are the squadrons who launched aboard the USS Voyager last week.  It was a short week because of Fall Vacation. 

The 4th Grade Lion Squadron

The 4th Grade Dragon Squadron

The 3rd Grade Cobra Squadron

     The 3rd Cobra Captain is not a 3rd grader in case you're wondering.  His name is Jackson. Jackson is a member of The Space Place staff.  3rd Grade squadrons are always commanded by a member of staff. This makes it easier for the crew to focus on running the complicated ship and provides a good example of leadership for the younglings to follow.  

Meet More of Yesterday's Outstanding Space Center Staff

     Today I have more pictures of yesterday's outstanding Space Center staff.  These photos from from September / October of 2004.  

Metta was the Magellan's star supervisor.  Nothing got past her and everyone she trained did a great job!

Why who is this guy sitting in the Voyager's Flight Director chair.  Yes, it is me. I must be flying or about to fly because I've got my walkie talkie in pocket.  

Another picture of Dustin Robison and one of the Voyager's alien props.

Josh Babb training the left wing officers on a Voyager mission

Dustin and Megan Warner in the Voyager Control Room.
Megan is at IIFX and Dustin is manning the video station.

David Kyle Herring was never a fan of having his picture taken.

Kendall Duclos at an Honor's Night

Construction Pictures of the Original USS Phoenix.  2004

The staff bunks were removed exposing the classroom's
exterior wall.  The Phoenix would be build in this corner of the Briefing Room

The framing is in place.

The wall of the Phoenix showing the emergency
exit (left) and the main entrance (right)

Standing where the Phoenix Captain's Chair would soon
go looking out toward my desk in the Briefing Room.

Looking at the Phoenix from the school's hallway

Looking toward the Voyager's entrance from the 
interior of the Phoenix.

Imaginarium Theater

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

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Meet the Staff and Volunteers from the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center's Second Decade 2000 - 2010 (Continued). Meet More Young Astronauts at The Space Place. The Imaginarium Theater.

Hello Space Center Fans,
     This is the continuation of the series I started last week. I'm going through all my photos and posting the ones containing pictures of the staff and volunteers who worked at the Space Center during its second decade of operation (2000-2010).  These are the greats, whose dedicated work kept the Space Center growing and prospering.  These are the true believers in the Space Center's mission of "Creating A Space Faring Civilization One Student at a Time."   

Josh Webb (green) and Scott Slaugh (red)
Josh was a Voyager Supervisor Extraordinaire.  Scott was a young, student, hypercard programmer who played a major role in the simulator's operational controls.  

Josh Webb sleeping on the job. You have to give him a break,
We'd just finished a grueling 27 hours of work (Friday field trips, Friday private missions, Friday overnight camp)

Josh, fully awake now, is back to work cleaning the Voyager's black plastic computer screen covers at the end of an overnight camp.  We had to get the ship ready for the 
11:30 A.M. Saturday private missions.

Stephen Porter is looking bored at the Voyager's IIFX station.
Behind him are two young volunteers waiting their turn to 
go on the bridge to shake up the campers.

I sure wish I remembered the name of this Volunteer (playing the Voyager's ship's doctor).  He's standing with the ship's security in the crew quarters.

There are a few staff and volunteers you may recognize in this early photo from 2002 - 2004.  On the far left you have James Porter in the blue shirt. James is the current director of the Space Center.  David Merrell is next to James in the green shirt at the table. I also see Randy Jepperson in this photo. Dustin Robison there in a black shirt. And the guy in green with this back to the camera is the great Stephen Porter.
It is about 11:30 P.M. on a Friday night. We just got the campers to bed and we've gathered in the Briefing Room to celebrate a staff birthday.  That's the Odyssey's outer wall in the back.  The far wall behind James held the staff bunks. That area was turned into the Phoenix a few years later.

That's Dustin Robison at the Voyager's IIFX station.  Josh Babb is sitting in the Voyager's Flight Director chair (2004)  That huge white computer between them controlled the Voyager's isoliner chip station on the Bridge.

I guess Josh isn't happy with Dustin's work. They're standing on the Voyager's Bridge.

Meet More Young Astronauts from The Space Place at Renaissance Academy, They Keep Coming and Coming and Coming....

     Yes, there are more Young Astronauts you've not been introduced to.  In fact, there are 207 Young Astronauts and Voyagers at Renaissance Academy, divided into squadrons of 7 - 10 members. The squadrons meets after school from 3:30 - 5:30 P.M. Monday - Thursday and 12:45 - 2:45 P.M. on Fridays (our school's early out day). We're spending the months of September and October brining them in for their first meetings and missions aboard the Starship Voyager.  Here are last week's squadrons

Say Hello to the 4th Grade Monday Cobra Squadron

Say Hello to the 5th Grade Tuesday Dragon Squadron

Say Hello to the 5th Grade Wednesday Lion Squadron

Say Hello to the 4th Grade Thursday Scorpion Squadron

Say Hello to the 5th Grade Friday Tiger Squadron

Imaginarium Theater

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