The Telos Discovery Space Center is part of Telos U in Vineyard, Utah. TDSC was started by Dr. Ryan Anderson. As a teenager, Dr. Anderson volunteered with me in the original Starship Voyager in the 1990's. That's where he caught the "Space Center" bug. He grew up, went on to university, graduated with his doctorate degree and has several letters behind his name, some of which I've no clue what they mean but I'm absolutely impressed.
Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., LMFT, MedFT
Co-founder, Telos U
Executive Director, Telos Discovery Space Center.
Advisor, Dimension X
Ryan has been a good friend to the Space EdVenturing community by supporting our work at The Space Place and working with James Porter on Dimension X - a new system of ship controls to take us into the 23rd century.
I asked Ryan to write a Troubadour post updating us on the innovative work he and his staff are doing on the Starship Hyperion at Telos.
The Hyperion, Telos Discovery Space Center
The Hyperion is unique amongst Utah County's 15 starship simulators in that most of its missions are developed to go hand in hand with Dr. Anderson's pioneering work in blending immersive education (Hyperion) with the therapeutic work he does with Telos U's student body. I think we may need to schedule a Voyager Club experience aboard the Hyperion for our cadets.
And Now, Dr. Anderson's Update
Telos Discover Space Center Update
By Dr. Ryan Anderson
Interweaving second stories with auxiliary timelines.
Since we tend to work mostly with young adults in our LDM program, we have been continuing to find ways to add a variety of layers to our missions to help keep everyone meaningfully engaged, rather than just busy. As a part of that, we have really been expanding our use of auxiliary timelines. Alex--the creator of Thorium--had excellent foresight in allowing multiple auxiliary timelines to be run in a single mission. So, that allows us to have specific side stories running that are coordinated with the main mission but which proceed at their own pace.
With that, we have created a fairly large number of detailed second stories for Engineering, Security, Science, Medical, and Counterintelligence that go beyond the old favorites of "there's a bomb on the ship" or "a fight broke out in the mess hall," although we still enjoy using those, as well.
This has allowed us to focus on helping our participants have experiences with a variety of skills such as management, public health measures, auditing (it's more fun than it sounds like!), human resources, and more realistic cyber security issues.
Easter eggs galore!
I have a bit of a penchant for including Easter Eggs without ruining immersion. So, if you come for a mission on the Hyperion, you will find a wide variety of references to science, art, fantasy, and science fiction. We also have a lot of nods to little details from the original Voyager that long-time Space Center fans might pick up on. For example, you will notice that in a lot of our visuals, I include a slight rotation of the ship as we approach our destination. This is an homage to one of Victor's classic rotating star fields that was used as a traveling animation on the original Voyager.
I've also tied in a few Easter Eggs for today's generation. For example, fans of the Space Center classic mission "Supernova" will be familiar with Dr. Jenkins and his (spoiler alert) decision to go charging in haphazardly into a tense situation and making it escalate into a crisis. At the Telos Discovery Space Center, we decided to give Dr. Jenkins a first name: Leeroy. Victor probably had no idea how precient his mission was for something that has become a timeless internet meme. And if you need an explanation of Leeroy Jenkins, follow this link.
Improving our visuals.
In addition, while we are excited about the development of next generations controls, we are continuing to build upon the visuals that we use, since they can be a big part of our storytelling.
Here are some links to some scenes created with our current level of ability in Unity:
Little by Little the Galileo is Coming Together at American Heritage's Space Center
I paid Alex DeBirk a visit on Monday to get an update on American Heritage's Space Center and his pioneering work on integrating the magic of simulator based immersive education in a K-12th grade setting. He had a lot to show me, and when all was said and done, I left feeling sorry for him. I don't think Alex has had a good night's sleep in at least a year. Between his family, his work as the school's physics teacher, and his job as the director of the school's space program he rarely has a minute for himself. I was exhausted for him after hearing everything he has planned for his program.
The one thing I want to highlight today is the work he and his students are doing to get the Galileo II back up and running. The Galileo II is the 2nd of 3 Starship Galileo's. The Christa McAuliffe Space Center sold the Galileo to American Heritage when the original Space Center closed to make the move into the new center.
The Galileo is back up on his wheeled frame and together (for the most part). The electrical work is the one thing slowing them down. Alex needs a licensed electrician to do the work and finding one is not an easy task with all the construction in Utah County. Waiting on the electrical work doesn't stop them from doing the other work required to fly the Galileo once again.
Pictured above is the Galileo's torpedo / probe launch bay. Alex and team are restoring it to its original glory and functionality.
Alex's high school students are restoring the torpedos and probes like the one above. Students build the equipment, install the equipment into the casing, and launch the unit into space via the launch bay. Pretty cool, right?
Alex and team are building a tunnel / hatchway from the ship's medical bunks into the simulator's hallway. Sitting on the tunnel will be the ship's engineering station using the Voyager I's engineering desk complete with isolineer chips!
The starship's crew will use the Voyager I's engineering station ladder to get to the station. It warms this old man's heart to see so much of the first Space Center being used today at American Heritage School.
I'll keep you updated on all developments, but for now, let's take a moment to appreciate the good work so many people are doing at Utah County's 6 Space Centers in creating a space faring civilization.
The Picture that Helps Me Stay Centered and Keep Things In Perspective
This picture sat at my desk right under my eyes for most of my tenure as Space Center Director.
This picture is called "Migrant Mother". It is a photograph taken in 1936 in Nipomo, California by American photographer Dorothea Lange.
It depicts a mother looking off into the distance with two of her children at her sides and an infant in her lap. Her children's faces are not shown as the children both bury their faces in their mother's shoulders. Since then, the photograph has become an icon of the Great Depression.
When those bad days came, when the staff drove me crazy, when the campers were too hyper, when trying to keep the Space Center afloat and progressing, when I was exhausted from putting in over 100 hours a week work in the summers with the camps etc. I would glance down at this photo. It reminded me that even though I was having a bad day or two, I needed to put my "bad day" into perspective. My "bad day" was nothing compared to what this poor migrant mother was facing on the road during the great depression.
A minute or so with "Migrant Mother" and I would be ready to soldier on and get the job done. What do you use to recenter yourself when you're having one of those days?
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