Field Trip to Spaceport Alpha: 14 Dec 2006
Spaceport Alpha started up in September 2005 and is all set up by volunteers. They have recently formed a non-profit corporation. They have a presence on the Main Grid, another (invitation only) on the Main Grid and a presence on the Teen Grid. The International Space Museum is one sim, which is 256m x 256m, but they make the most of available area by building high into space and there are many exhibits in outer space (this is a problem if you fall off an exhibit :-) ). The island does not include fictional exhibits, and all exhibits mut be as accurate as possible.
The planning group holds weekly meetings which are recorded, with everyone's agreement, in Chatlog. The planning is open source, in that transcripts are published. There is a password-controlled wiki and a public website. Major decisions are made on a consensus basis. There is an overall sim layout plan and a scale model of the site which anyone can move around. There is also a dedicated building area where people can work on projects together or beside each other, drawing on each other's expertise. Each person develops and maintains their own exhibit. The map, which uses photos from the US Geological Survey, coloured by hand, took about 100 hours to put together. The three-dimensional star map, which you find in outerspace took about 40 hours, though it was put together by someone with lots of experience and a PhD in astrodynamics - I don't think many of us would have managed to build it in that time.
- password-controlled wiki
- public website
- weekly newsletter
- blog with an RSS feed.
They showed live video coverage of the recent shuttle launch.
They have a speaker on most Sundays.
They have held events with up to 70 avatars present, but 60 is probably the realistic limit. Maximise the amount of avatars who can be present by disabling all 'top scripts' (I've no idea what that means but I guess some of you do) and asking avatars to remove their bling and complex attachments!
Who was on the trip?
- Davee Commerce
- Troy McLuhan
- Euphloozie Vostok
- Faji Tulip
- Marie Arnold
- Schomer Simpson
- Terrence Wilber
- Vigo Forager
- Woop Superior
- Zed Zhao
Also present for at least part of the time
- Benthebest Baxter
- Elsa Dickins
- Guardian Angel Fallon
- Unabrow Chabrow
Experience of a virtual field trip
- You do need the right equipment. Rebecca crashed out three times on the Digilab computer.
- Very good to be in a group and have someone to answer questions.
- However, discussion does feel slow.
- And being online and concentrating for two hours is hard work (and probably not very good for us).
- Really good to get together and share skills and expertise.
- Would we have been better splitting into small groups? We culd have gone exploring and then found Troy to ask questions.
- We might have gathered more information overall in that way
- And the question-and-answer sessions might have moved more quickly.