SPACE STATION CENTAUR is a chapter of STARFLEET, the International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc.-probably the largest Star Trek fan club in the world. We are a correspondence chapter, nominally based in Shropshire, but our members come from across the country. We meet up on Facebook and at conventions etc. However, not all of our members are on Facebook so we have additional pages here.
As a couple of people have asked me about this, promotions and rank within STARFLEET are more about personal achievement than seniority. Indeed, seniority is by post rather than rank (which is why a department head could have a lower rank than other people in his her department.
Promotion is gained by participation so by posting comments, adding articles, submitting things to the Centaurian and things like that, it all goes towards your next promotion.
Having said that, there are two STARFLEET Academy exams that also carry promotion. This is because they deal with how SFI operates. They are both very useful exams: they are OTS and OCC.
Officer Training School (OTS) will allow the student to learn about the real-world of STARFLEET and prepare the individual to become a commissioned officer. It is a prerequisite for anyone becoming a Chapter Commanding Officer (CO) or Executive Officer (XO), as well as for anyone wanting to complete Officer Command College (OCC).
Completion of this course will earn you the rank of Ensign on Space Station Centaur.
Officer Command College (OCC) will expand the student's knowledge of STARFLEET as an organization, as well as strengthen their knowledge of being a commissioned officer. It is a prerequisite for anyone becoming a Chapter Commanding Officer (CO) or Executive Officer (XO), as well as for anyone wanting to complete Flag Officer School (FOS). Officer Training School (OTS) is a prerequisite for Officer Command College.
Completion of this course will earn you the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade on Space Station Centaur.
The European Space Agency has a super website for young people. It's also great for simple explanations about the complicated stuff for us biggies too!
The Universe is everything we can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. It includes living things, planets, stars, galaxies, dust clouds, light, and even time. Before the birth of the Universe, time, space and matter did not exist.
The Universe contains billions of galaxies, each containing millions or billions of stars. The space between the stars and galaxies is largely empty. However, even places far from stars and planets contain scattered particles of dust or a few hydrogen atoms per cubic centimeter. Space is also filled with radiation (e.g. light and heat), magnetic fields and high energy particles (e.g. cosmic rays).
The Universe is incredibly huge. It would take a modern jet fighter more than a million years to reach the nearest star to the Sun. Travelling at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take 100,000 years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone.
No one knows the exact size of the Universe, because we cannot see the edge – if there is one. All we do know is that the visible Universe is at least 93 billion light years across. (A light year is the distance light travels in one year – about 9 trillion km.)
The Universe has not always been the same size. Scientists believe it began in a Big Bang, which took place nearly 14 billion years ago. Since then, the Universe has been expanding outward at very high speed. So the area of space we now see is billions of times bigger than it was when the Universe was very young. The galaxies are also moving further apart as the space between them expands.
Yes, we are just a little bit crazy and yes, we do have tribbles. Tribbles make wonderful pets (when neutered), are very affectionate and also incredibly clean. I have a tribble myself, George Tribble, and I've never had to clear up after him.
Curious about this, I asked our Ship's Counsellor, ENS Erika Stroem, who is also a Xenobiologist. Erika explained, "They eat it as it is full of nutrition. It also helps in reproduction, which is why there are so many of them and why it is hard to get rid of them. They can follow this procedure over fifty times before they need other foods to replenish the nutrients."
When asked if they had tongues, Erika explained further.
"No, they have a little slit that sucks food (or poop) up—they are like little vacuums, and then another little slit on the other side that blows the poop out. But if the poop is not eaten quickly enough it will turn into another Tribble, this manifestation is known as narcissus metamorphoses."
Erika also has a tribble named Bill.
"We've had Bill for quite a few years, but we'd only had him for a couple of days when I saw him trying to eat his own poop. Thinking that it was totally disgusting, I quickly scooped it up and put it in the bin. That night, I then heard noises coming from the bin and I must admit, it scared the living daylights out of me, but when I finally got the courage to look, we had Ben Two! That's when I started to look into it a bit further visiting the tribble farm, which is near to where I was studying at the time."
Stingray (who was with us during the conversation) wondered if any waste produced by a tribble could be excreted via the sweat glands as sweat.
"No," explained Erika. "If you see what my two eat at times, there is no way on Earth it could be broken down into just sweat. Even Tarantulas, who liquidise their prey and then suck the life out of them, still excrete a liquid type of poop."
Rather like Commander Riker, I have been encouraged to start or take on the command of a chapter a number of times, but I have always declined. 'Always a Riker; never a Picard,' I would say, and I was quite adamant about that. Indeed, if you had asked me 1st August, I would have said the same thing.
However, on 2nd August, I was chatting with fellow members of STARFLEET International, musing
upon the ways of this world. I'll admit that some of us where feeling a little downhearted about some things (the negativity towards Discovery, for example) and, as is the way with these things, we ran through all the 'what if's' that one generally does in such situations. The conversation twisted and turned and somehow we ended up talking about a new chapter. I really can't quite remember how we got there, and then someone said, "Why don't we?"
Even though this was all being done through Facebook DMs, I felt all heads turn towards me, and in that moment, I just knew it was the right thing to do.
I was very fortunate at the beginning of my STARFLEET career to have been under the command of CAPT Daniel Adams of the USS Stargazer (or Ark Royal as it was then). Dan let me explore some of the many facets of running a chapter and I learned much from him.
In April of last year, I was privileged to help launch the USS Merlin with COMM Richard Sams. Again, this was a superb experience for me and it taught me a great deal too. So I suppose launching my own chapter was a natural progression.
However, this is not something I could have done alone. I had a group of wonderful people supporting me and helping me to make some important decisions, like the name of our vessel and vessel type. Even when we hit a little glitch, everybody stepped forward to help get it resolved. As a result, by the time we launched on 14th August—just TWELVE days later, we had handbook, website and crew structure all in place! It was phenomenal and so I just have one thing to say to my crew.
Thank you. You are fantastic and I will do my best to serve you well.
CAPT Anni Potts Commanding Officer SPACE STATION CENTAUR