TIROS-3

TIROSNASA and the United States Weather Bureau launch the third experimental TIROS weather satellite, TIROS-3. Further refinements to the basic TIROS satellite system are made, but one of the satellite’s two television cameras fails within days of going into service. TIROS-3 proves the future life-saving potential of weather satellites by giving Earthbound meteorologists advance warning of the formation and strengthening of Hurricane Esther well before it makes landfall on the east coast of the United States. TIROS-3 is operational for less than a year.

The Andromeda Breakthrough: Azaran Forecast

The Andromeda BreakthroughThe third episode of the British science fiction series The Andromeda Breakthrough, created and written by John Elliot and astronomer Fred Hoyle as a follow-up to 1961’s A For Andromeda, is broadcast on the BBC, starring Peter Halliday, Susan Hampshire, John Hollis (The Empire Strikes Back), and Mary Morris. Unlike A For Andromeda, this series exists in the BBC archives in its entirety.

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NCC-1701-UK

Star TrekPicked up by the BBC as a summer replacement for Doctor Who, which has just ended its sixth season with the departure of its entire cast, Star Trek begins its run on BBC1 with the episode Where No Man Has Gone Before, the series’ second pilot. Sally Kellerman (M*A*S*H) and Gary Lockwood (2001) guest star. The initial episodes of the series’ UK run are aired in black & white, as BBC1 will not broadcast in color until November 1969.

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Apollo: the Shuttle’s lifeboat?

Space Shuttle with Apollo capsuleSpace shuttle contractor North American Rockwell submits a safety study to NASA concerning safety and escape systems for the upcoming space shuttle, including a study of smaller vehicles with potential use as “lifeboats” in the event that a shuttle is unfit for return to Earth due to heat shield or other catastrophic damage. The various proposals, which include the possibility of permanently berthing an Apollo command module (another vehicle contracted to North American Rockwell) in the shuttle’s cargo bay for use as a lifeboat, are rejected by NASA due to the impact that each proposal would have on available space and weight for cargo.

Phobos 2 launched

PhobosThe Soviet Union launches the second of two unmanned Phobos space probes, designed to investigate the largest of Mars’ two asteroid-like moons and deliver a lander to analyze that moon’s surface. The Phobos program is intended to be the definitive Mars exploration program of the 1980s, as well as the debut of a new Soviet interplanetary vehicle to take over from the Zond/Venera design in use since the 1960s; only Phobos 2 will actually reach its target intact, but it will still fail to complete all of its mission objectives.

ISS: Zvezda module launched

ISSThe third major piece of the International Space Station, the Mir-derived Zvezda service module, is launched from Russia. Once in orbit, automatic systems guide Zvezda toward rendezvous and docking with the combined Zarya and Unity modules that currently comprise the station. Zvezda adds life support systems and living quarters, as well as additional power-generating solar panels, to the station, completing the most basic building blocks necessary for ongoing occupation.

STS-104

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Atlantis lifts off on the 105th shuttle flight, a 13-day flight to resupply and install new hardware on the International Space Station. The station gains a new airlock and an equipment pallet – formerly part of the Spacelab module – which is attached to the station’s exterior. Aboard Atlantis for her 24th flight are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Charles Hobaugh, and mission specialists Michael Gernhardt, James Reilly and Janet Kavandi.

My own private space station: Genesis I

Genesis IA scaled-down proof-of-concept model of an inflatible space station module designed by NASA in the 1990s, Genesis I is launched (with no occupants, or, indeed, an airlock to allow access) by Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace. Genesis I is a testbed for a privately-operated space station whose pressurized modules (inflated from within by the supply of breathable air) would be much cheaper to launch than pre-fabricated structures such as the International Space Station. With several cameras monitoring every angle of the station, the module fully inflates in just ten minutes.