Babylon 5: In The Beginning

Babylon 5Cable channel TNT airs Babylon 5: In The Beginning, the first of two TV movies contracted by TNT to accompany its package of Babylon 5 reruns (which begin the following night). Set years before the series, In The Beginning chronicles the oft-mentioned-but-never-seen Earth-Minbari War. Premiering the same night is a “special edition” of the 1993 pilot movie, The Gathering, which brings its slightly dated effects and music more in line with the rest of the series.

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STS-89: eighth Shuttle-Mir docking

Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Endeavour is launched on a nine-day mission to dock with the Russian Mir space station. Routine resupply activities are carried out, along with crew rotations. Endeavour’s crew for her 12th flight consists of Commander Terrence Wilcutt, Pilot Joe Edwards, Payload Commander Bonnie Dunbar, and mission specialists Michael Anderson, James Reilly, Salizhan Sharipov and Andrew Thomas. Thomas remains on Mir, while David Wolf returns to Earth aboard Endeavour.

Soyuz TM-27

Soyuz TM-27Russia launches the Soyuz TM-27 spacecraft on a mission to the Mir space station. Aboard are cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin; French spationaut Léopold Eyharts joins them for a 20-day before he returns to Earth with Mir’s previous crew. Musabayev and Budarin remain in orbit on Mir for 207 days, returning to Earth in August 1998 with cosmonaut Yuri Baturin. During their stay, further repairs were conducted to Mir’s solar power panels, which were damaged in a 1997 collision with a Progress unmanned cargo vehicle.

Babylon 5: View From The Gallery

Babylon 5Cable channel TNT premieres the 92nd episode of J. Michael Straczynski’s science fiction series Babylon 5. The episode breaks the record-setting string of consecutive episodes of American television written by a single writer, with series creator J. Michael Straczynski having written the previous 52 episodes (53 if the series finale, filmed at the end of the fourth season, is included). Straczynski writes this one as well, but shares a story credit with Harlan Ellison.

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Voyager 1: furthest robot out

Voyager 1Unmanned space prove Voyager 1, launched in 1977, surpasses its forerunner Pioneer 10 as the furthest man-made object in space. Due to a sharp increase in its speed imparted by a very close pass by Saturn’s large moon Titan in 1980, Voyager 1 has outrun Pioneer 10, which was launched in 1972. Both vehicles are still returning science data, and Voyager 1 is now 6.5 billion miles from the sun, 70 times further out from the sun than Earth. Voyager’s on-board nuclear power source is expected to keep it active through 2020.