Dear Parents of Current and Prospective Space Sim Members.

The Ottawa Carleton Educational Space Simulation (otherwise known as "space sim") is a student-run forum in which students can 
teach each other about the practical aspects of space exploration and astronomy.  I am the organization's teacher advisor: Jim Magwood.
I supervise all activities.  For more detailed information about what the club does and how it is organized, please read the 
About Space Sim document.  

The club has two locations out of which it works.  Room 414 at Lisgar Collegiate Institute is the main office of the club.  
Students meet here during the week, conduct planning and training activities, and co-ordinate all of our other activities.  
Our main work area is at the Albert Street Education Center (440 Albert Street).  Our work room is room W027 which is on the 
ground floor at the west end of the building.  The easiest entry is the main doors off of Slater Street.  Several signs are 
posted leading people to the work room.  In this room is our spacecraft habitat (a drywall/metal frame structure), mission 
control area, simulator area, store room, and construction areas.  

There are two principal meetings each week.  
A planning meeting takes place each Friday at lunch, usually in room 412.  This is when we finalize plans for the work session 
that evening and make plans for future activities and what materials must be obtained to carry out those plans.  

Work sessions take place on Friday after school.  Students are allowed to arrive starting at 3:30 PM.  Work sessions last until 10 PM.  
A wide variety of activities take place at work sessions (see About Space Sim).  Each is lead by a senior 
student.  We carry out an number of different activities at these work sessions: mostly preparations for our main mission (research, 
designing and building planetary surfaces, training on flight and engineering software and hardware, making mission profiles and 
schedules), but also repairs and upgrades to our spacecraft mockup, computer system, EVA suits, electronics, dry wall, cleaning up 
and organizing supplies etc.  One of the best aspects of this club is the wide range of activities that it encompasses.  

Attendance at the Friday lunch meeting and Friday work sessions is not manditory, nor must students arrive and leave the work session 
at any particular time.

The Friday evening work session does take place on schoolboard property, it always is supervised, and all student codes of 
conduct must be followed.  I do not take attendance, as such, although a record is kept of who is at the work session at any time. 
In order to accomplish this:
   1) each student must inform me upon their arrival
   2) each student must inform me before they depart
   3) each student should inform their parents as to their particular plans for work session attendance.
These rules allow me to know how many students are present in case of an emergency, such as a fire alarm, and so that I can accurately 
inform any parents who call concerning their son's or daughter's presence at the work session.

Students are not allowed in any part of the building except the ground floor of the west wing (where the spacesim room is located). 

Parents are welcome at work sessions at any time and are encouraged to drop by to observe our activities.  I also am happy to answer 
any questions or concerns that you may have by phone (613 239-2696), email (, or in person at Lisgar or at 
the work sessions at Albert Street.

Should you wish to contact you son or daughter during a work session and they do not carry a cell phone, you may call my cell: 
613 513-8639.  Students who do not have a cell phone are free to ask to use my cell phone to call home.  Should any parent have 
particular wishes concerning the arrival or departure of their son or daughter should inform me of these wishes and I will do what 
I can to enforce them.

As work sessions can run as late as 10 PM, students departing at the end of a work session are encouraged to either travel with other 
students or to be picked up by a parent or guardian.  The area around the Albert Street Education Centre is quite safe, but reasonable 
caution always is warranted.  Mr. Magwood will wait at the centre until all students have been picked up.

Students can go home for supper and return later in the evening.  Many students eat at the work session.  The spacecraft has a 
refrigerator and microwave oven and there are facilities for eating and washing up.  A pizza pool is organized by the students at many 
of the work sessions.

If your son has any allergies or other problems which could limit participation in any activities, please let me know using the school 
email (

In addition to the meetings and work sessions, the OCESS also runs educational programs  at other schools as part of our educational 
outreach and fundraisng (EEPs and Planetarium presentations, see About Space Sim).  These activities are formal 
field trips and should your son or daughter wish to participate in one, they will be issues a permission form to take home.  Both of 
these activities require that the presenters take time out of school.  

The main mission takes place in late February or early March each year.  The six astronauts stay in the "spacecraft" or "planetary surface" 
for the duration of the mission (96 hours).  An adult supervisor is present in room W027 at all times during the mission.  The simulators 
typically work shifts of 4 hours also at the Albert Street Education Centre.  Mission control staff work out of the space sim office at 
Lisgar Collegiate over shorter shifts.  Their shifts are the easiest to manage in terms of missing the least amount of class time.  A much 
more comprehensive set of permission forms will be issued later in the fall.  These forms require the permission of both parents and 
semester 2 teachers.  

If you have any questions or concerns about this program or about your son or daughter's participation in it, please contact me at any time.


Jim Magwood
Science Department and OCESS teacher advisor
Lisgar Collegiate Institute