Soyuz TM-18

Soyuz TM-18Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-18 lifts off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, on a mission to the Russian space station Mir. Aboard the Soyuz are cosmonauts Viktor Afanasyev, Yuri Usachov, and Dr. Valeri Polyakov, a medical doctor who will study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the crew (including himself). Following a scary close call with the previous crew’s wayward Soyuz, the TM-18 crew settles in for a 182-day stay, with Afanasyev and Usachov returning to Earth; Polyakov remains aboard Mir, where he will eventually set the human space endurance record with a 420-day stay in orbit.

Hubble’s corrective lens

Hubble Space TelescopeFollowing the Space Shuttle repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, the orbiting telescope’s new Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 shows incredible improvement in image resolution. By determining the exact deformation of the telescope’s main mirror, the new camera is created almost like corrective glasses: it’s designed to compensate for that deformation at all times. The resulting improvement in image quality is remarkable, enabling Hubble to spot volcanic activity on Io, a moon of Jupiter whose volcanoes have only been visible from space probes making a close flyby. Hubble’s improved vision also arrives just in time to witness an unprecedented event: a cometary collision with Jupiter later in 1994.

A close call at Mir

Soyuz TM-17The departing crew of Soyuz TM-17, cosmonauts Vasili Tsibliyev and Aleksandr Serebrov, board their capsule and vacate the Russian Mir space station, as planned. Ordered to take photos of the new docking assembly that will someday allow American space shuttles to visit Mir, Tsibliyev brings the Soyuz back to a close distance from the station, but complains of sluggish controls – just before Soyuz collides with the station, bouncing off of its outer hull twice. Mir’s newly arrived crew prepares to evacuate in their own Soyuz, but no critical damage is found to either the station or to Soyuz TM-17, which is allowed to return home. Tsibliyev’s luck aboard Mir will only get worse during his troubled second tour of duty on the station later in the 1990s.

The X-Files: Gender Bender

The X-FilesThe 14th episode of Chris Carter’s modern-day science fiction series The X-Files airs on Fox, starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, and guest starring Peter Stebbings (Jeremiah). This episode is notable for being the first X-Files episode directed by Rob Bowman (Star Trek: The Next Generation), who will become a major influence on the series, as well as the first series appearance of actor Nicholas Lea, though it’s the only time he doesn’t play Alex Krycek.

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TekWar

TekWarThe TV movie TekWar, based on William Shatner’s cyberpunk novel series, premieres in syndication. The Canadian-made movie, intended to serve as the starting point for a potential series, stars Greg Evigan (My Two Dads), William Shatner (Star Trek), and Torri Higginson (Stargate Atlantis), and features Von Flores (Earth: Final Conflict), Barry Morse (Space: 1999), Sheena Easton, and Maurice Dean Wint (Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future). This movie is part of the Universal Action Pack syndication package (which will become better known for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess).

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Clementine lifts off

ClementineNASA’s Clementine unmanned spacecraft is launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base toward Earth’s moon, the first American spacecraft to aim at that destination since the 1970s. Intended to map the moon with multispectral cameras and obtain a fresh gravity map, Clementine is a huge technological advance over NASA’s last lunar vehicle, featuring a 32-bit image processing system with solid state data storage. Clementine takes a leisurely trajectory to reach its destination, flying by Earth twice before reaching the moon a month after launch.

STS-60

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Discovery lifts off on the 60th flight of the shuttle program. During its eight days in orbit, Discovery hosts the first Russian cosmonaut ever to fly aboard an American spacecraft, initiating an ongoing agreement between the two countries’ space agencies that will eventually lead to shuttles visiting Mir and the construction of the International Space Station. Aboard Discovery for her 18th flight are Commander Charles Bolden, Pilot Kenneth Reightler, and mission specialists Jan Davis, Ronald Sega, Franklin Chang-Diaz and Sergei Krikalev.

Doctor Who: No Future

Doctor WhoVirgin Publishing releases the 23rd book in the Doctor Who New Adventures series, “No Future” by Paul Cornell. This book concludes a five-book cycle involving someone trying to ensnare the Doctor by making paradoxical major changes to the Time Lord’s established history. “No Future” also explains the somewhat cryptic “breakdown” suffered by Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart during the 1970s, leading to his retirement from UNIT.

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The X-Files: E.B.E.

The X-FilesThe 17th episode of Chris Carter’s modern-day science fiction series The X-Files airs on Fox, starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, and guest starring Jerry Hardin. The trio of conspiracy theorists known as “The Lone Gunmen”, played by Bruce Harwood, Dean Haglund, and Tom Braidwood, make their first appearance here; they’ll eventually gain enough popularity to get their own short-lived spinoff.

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TekLords

TekWarThe TV movie TekLords, the second feature-length movie based on William Shatner’s cyberpunk novel series, premieres in syndication. The Canadian-made movie stars Greg Evigan (My Two Dads), William Shatner (Star Trek), and Torri Higginson (Stargate Atlantis), and features future Earth: Final Conflict cast members Von Flores, David Hemblen, and Richard Chevolleau. This movie is part of the Universal Action Pack syndication package (which will become better known for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess).

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TekLab

TekWarThe TV movie TekLab, the third feature-length movie based on William Shatner’s cyberpunk novel series, premieres in syndication. The Canadian-made movie stars Greg Evigan (My Two Dads), Eugene Clark (Night Heat), William Shatner (Star Trek), and Torri Higginson (Stargate Atlantis), and features Michael York (Logan’s Run). This movie is part of the Universal Action Pack syndication package (which will become better known for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess).

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STS-62

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Columbia lifts off on the 61st shuttle mission, a two-week visit to Earth orbit carrying two cargo-bay-mounted experiment systems operated primarily from the ground. Crew members participate in experiments involving the side-effects of long-term space travel. The crew for Columbia’s 16th flight consists of Commander John Casper, Pilot Andrew Allen, and mission specialists Pierre Thuot, Charles Gemar and Marsha Ivins.

The draft of time

Doctor WhoStar Trek VI co-writer Denny Martin Flinn completes a screenplay draft for Doctor Who: The Movie, which is at this stage a big-screen reboot of the original series stuck in development hell. A British studio, Lumiere Pictures, has assigned several writers to write successive drafts of a movie version of the BBC series, often choosing to reboot the story rather than pick up where it left off. Eventually the series’ revival falls to a one-night-only TV movie being developed seperately by producer Philip Segal.

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