Difference between revisions of "2007-08 Planning Discussion"

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This page contains the notes that were taken at the meeting on July 29th, 2007 to plan [[Spacesim]]'s course for the [[2007-08|next year]]. Discussion about their contents should take place on the talk page.
This page contains the notes that were taken at the meeting on July 29th, 2007 to plan [[Spacesim]]'s course for the [[2007-08|next year]]. Discussion about their contents should take place on the talk page.

Latest revision as of 16:34, 11 March 2010

This page contains the notes that were taken at the meeting on July 29th, 2007 to plan Spacesim's course for the next year. Discussion about their contents should take place on the talk page.

Events for Next Year

Discussion of next year's events centred both on developing new events and improving existing ones

Spacesim Camping Trip

The first major suggestion was that Spacesim go on a 2-night camping trip over the first or second weekend of October 2007 (5th-7th or 12th-14th). This event would have several benefits, including

  • possibly attracting new members
  • serving as an opportunity for star-gazing, since Gatineau or Algonquin are free of light pollution
  • building camaraderie and a sense of esprit de corps among those who attend
  • serving as preparation for the mission, in that all supplies must be planned and brought in ahead of time, since resupply is difficult

Several observations were made about this possible event:

  • It is unlikely that Spacesim members possess enough camping equipment to run this event. This means that three options are apparent:
    1. Spacesim buys camping equipment
      • This could be a significant expenditure, depending on how much must be purchased
      • It would leave us well-prepared to run such an event in future
    2. Spacesim members buy camping equipment
      • This relieves some of the strain upon our budget, but might be asking too much of the families of members
    3. Spacesim borrows camping equipment from the Outdoor Ed. stockpile
      • While this option is much cheaper than the other two, it relies upon us obtaining permission from the school to use its equipment
      • This also imposes scheduling constraints, since we would have to work around Outdoor Ed's use of the same equipment
      • Damaging or losing the equipment would result in us having to make good the damage/lost, possibly at significant expense
  • Other points raised were:
    • We would probably need additional supervision, since asking Dr. Magwood to supervise many members on an overnight trip would be asking a lot. These additional supervisors might be:
      • Willing teachers
      • Benevolent parents of members/alumni
    • If we do decide to go ahead with this event, the school would need to be informed as soon as possible

Week of Hype

  • will be taking place Mon-Wed before Clubs Day
  • overall goal: needs to have higher profile than last time
  • 1 'theme' each day:
    • Explosions Day (NI3, thermite, liquid nitrogen bottles)
    • Rocketry Day (Bottle rockets, model rocket engines attached to goalposts)
    • Marshmallow Day (LN marshmallows, other LN activities)

Clubs Day

Clubs Day will be the Thursday after the events of the Week of Hype. Spacesim will have a time slot in the assembly to be held on that day. The consensus of those at the meeting was that we should have a slideshow instead of a skit, since none of us is particularly good at acting or writing skits. It was also suggested that the hovercraft be repaired in time for use at Clubs Day. The significant issue with this proposal is that space is lacking inside the gym, and the new brickwork in the Mall is not compatible with the hovercraft.


Many ideas were suggested in the area of Spacesim's organization and operation for next year

Lunch Meetings

Lunch meetings will be moved to the middle of the week (probably to Wednesday, barring major conflict with another club). This will allow enough time between the meeting and the work session for plans to be made and supplies to be purchased, so that work can commence immediately upon arrival at 440 Albert Street. Commanders' meetings will be held after school the day before the meeting (probably Tuesday), to set the agenda and allow time to make any necessary preparations.

The Sim Office

The consensus reached at the meeting was that no ironclad rules will be imposed on the use of the Sim Office beyond those necessary to ensure safety and those required by common sense. Steps will be taken against activities if they are found to interfere with the use of the office for business. Also, no games will be permitted during lunch on the day of the lunchtime meeting, since such activities will:

  • provide an incentive to not attend the meeting
  • provide an incentive to rush the meeting to its conclusion so that the games may be played

Labour Relations

Building on the attempted implementation of a structured system for Task Forces, Spacesim will endeavour to implement a semi-permanent system of 'Departments'. Due to the observation that almost all projects undertaken by Spacesim fall into just a few general categories, most work performed at work sessions will be assigned to standing departments like the Department of Construction, the Department of Electronics, the Department of Documentation, etc. When a new project (e.g. replacing the most heavily damaged portions of the Habitat's walls) is proposed, it will be submitted as a formal proposal (description of task, materials required, labour required, required date of completion, estimated cost and time to completion). If the project is approved, the relevant department (in this case, the Department of Construction) will have the task added to its worklist. At each work session, the Departments will be able to consult a list of tasks which they should be working on, and will easily be able to determine which tasks should be worked on first, instead of having to search around for tasks that need to be worked on. This system will also ensure that there are people available to work on essential tasks, which might otherwise wither because all the available people are already working on other tasks. Spacesim must also ensure that we do not work on too many tasks at the same time, which would probably result in none of the tasks being completed.

The Beginning of the Year

At the start of the 2007-08 school year, Spacesim will need to accomplish several tasks to lay the groundwork for the rest of the year. Before we begin casting around for new members, our current members should get together to assemble a list of tasks for the year and settle upon job assignments. Before we begin regular work sessions at Albert Street, we will need to clean up the debris left over from 2006-07, to prevent new members from perceiving us as unkempt, slovenly laggards (author's phrase). Our first work session should be an orientation for new members, to explain what Spacesim does and to allow them to see our facilities. The next work session should be a scripted 'demo' mission, to demonstrate how missions work and to show off our software (naturally, we will need to make sure that everything is operational before we do this, which will probably mean coming in beforehand).

EEP/Planetarium Publicity

We will have a concentration of publicity efforts for EEPs and Planetariums for the first two months of the school year. If no interest in EEPs is apparent during that period, we will de-emphasize EEPs and concentrate upon planetariums, since there is likely to be significant interest in these (as always). If interest in EEPs is shown, we will commence a regimen of EEP training so that we will be adequately prepared for the EEP.


The general consensus of the meeting was that we need to be genuinely committed to the EEP program, and that we need to ensure that there is a potential market for EEPs before we devote significant effort to preparing for them. It was suggested that we look at a closer association with the Museum of Science and Technology and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and that we shift the focus of the EEP program to be centred more on general sciences, since astronomy does not play a significant role in the elementary curriculum. Guangye suggested that we look into receiving a grant from the Canadian Space Agency to further develop our program. She also mentioned that the CSA has a distance education program which involves videoconferencing; we intend to look further into this program for next year. It was further emphasized that EEPs need to be treated with the same level of importance as planetariums, and that we need to ensure that we maintain contact with the RASC


One of the major conclusions of the discussion was that Spacesim needs to ensure that all of its members are well-trained in most areas of the club's operation.

EEP/Planetarium Training

We concluded that most of the demand for planetariums should be anticipated in December/January and June, since most science classes place the astronomy stream at the end of the semester. This gives us at least three months to train for planetariums, during which time we should ensure that we have a dedicated cadre of members who are capable of running planetariums fairly frequently if demand requires it. EEP training will only be necessary if demand is apparent. If there is indication that we will be presenting EEPs, training will take place at dedicated work sessions. Attention should be directed toward reducing the number of members required to conduct an EEP, which is currently very high.

Mission Training

The decision of the group was that next year's mission must be preceded by significantly more training than accompanied Coronis. This training would include 'cross-class' training (astronauts receiving Mission Control training and vice versa, pilots receiving engineer training and vice versa, etc.). In addition to individual, off-hours practice with the software, this training would also encompass several mini-missions to be run during the first semester, as well as work sessions devoted entirely to training. Anthony suggested a return to the practice of logging pilot training, the expectation being that pilots will be required to have a certain amount of practice before flying.

Procedures Training

It was generally agreed that the procedures, while sound at heart, are in significant need of updating to reflect modern improvements in Spacesim's infrastructure. Once this task has been completed, all members will be expected to be familiar with the manual in general and with the section which pertains to their portion of the mission in particular.

The Mission

The major points raised with regard to the mission were that Mission Control needs to be more involved in the mission and that more professionalism is necessary to maintain the necessary atmosphere of seriousness. More planning will also be needed to ensure that improvisation is kept to a minimum

The Hotlab

Efforts must be made next year to declutter the Hotlab so that only necessary equipment and substances are taken on the mission. Bringing unnecessary compounds is an accident waiting to happen.


The Galileo Challenge

Because some of the responsibility for this initiative is passing on to U of T, we will be less responsible for such aspects as publicising and distributing the contest. However, we will need to make sure that we hold up our end of the bargain for areas like writing the questions and sending them to U of T, as well as any other areas in which we can help.


Pursuant to expanding into other schools, we should endeavour to print out a large quantity of posters which can be delivered to schools where expansion might be well-received. The possible formation of a Reach for the Top tournament league next year might allow for an avenue for picking up members from other schools. Tighter cooperation with Ottawa and Carleton Universities was also suggested.