Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: Episode 20

Hitchhiker's Guide To The GalaxyThe 20th episode of the radio science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is broadcast on BBC Radio, continuing Dirk Maggs’ adaptation of Douglas Adams’ novel So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish. Hitchhiker’s Guide TV regulars David Dixon and Sandra Dickinson make their first appearances in the radio series.

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Doctor Who: The Empty Child

Doctor WhoThe 707th episode of Doctor Who (the ninth since the series’ revival) airs on BBC1. John Barrowman guest stars in the first appearance of Captain Jack Harkness (a character who will later led the spinoff series Torchwood); this is the first episode of a two-part story and is the first non-parody Doctor Who episode written by future showrunner Steven Moffat. The episode goes on to win a Hugo Award.

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Battlestar Galactica Season 1 soundtrack

La-La Land Records releases Bear McCreary’s soundtrack from the first season of Sci-Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica reboot. Released by popular demand from the show’s fan base, the soundtrack displays the series’ rapidly evolving, complex musical direction, including the unusual dual main theme tunes (one used for broadcast in the UK, one used in the US).

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Doctor Who: The Parting Of The Ways

Doctor WhoThe 711th episode of Doctor Who (the 13th since the series’ revival) airs on BBC1. The ninth Doctor regenerates, making him the second shortest-lived incarnation of the Time Lord (after Paul McGann); even Colin Baker outlasted Eccleston in the role. John Barrowman and Paterson Joseph guest star; David Tennant makes his first brief appearance as the tenth Doctor.

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Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: Episode 26

Hitchhiker's Guide To The GalaxyThe 26th episode of the radio science fiction comedy series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is broadcast on BBC Radio, concluding Dirk Maggs’ adaptation of the novel Mostly Harmless. Maggs takes liberties with the end of Adams’ novel, negating the book’s original ending (for which Adams himself had expressed regret after publication) and reuniting most of the original cast for a happier ending than their characters met in print.

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Jack Kilby, integrated circuit inventor, dies

Jack KilbyComputer pioneer Jack Kilby, a Nobel Prize winner for his part in creating the integrated cicruit, dies of cancer at the age of 81. A long-time employee of Texas Instruments, he co-invented the integrated circuit, which made the current advances in miniturization of computer technology possible. (Prior to that, even minimal computing power often occupied an entire room.) He also counted the handheld calculator among his inventions. Though he retired from TI in the early 80s, he continued to consult for the company until the time of his death.

Colliding with Deep Impact

Deep Impact at Comet Tempel 1After months on a precise interception course, NASA’s unmanned Deep Impact space probe meets up with Comet Tempel 1, firing a impactor into the comet’s nucleus to study the distribution and composition of the debris scattered by the resulting impact. The impactor had been released by the flyby spacecraft six days earlier, and transmitted its images and readings to the flyby vehicle, which records them and retransmits them to ground controllers on Earth. The two vehicles’ on-board software tracks the comet so precisely that the impact happens within a second of the anticipated timeline in the mission plan, kicking up enough cometary dust to obscure the view of the crater left on the comet’s nucleus. Following the Tempel 1 mission, the still-intact Deep Impact flyby vehicle is redirected for future missions to other objects in the solar system.

Joe Harnell, composer, dies

V soundtrackProlific film and TV composer Joe Harnell, whose memorable themes introduced audiences to such shows as The Incredible Hulk, the original V miniseries and The Bionic Woman, dies of heart failure at the age of 80. Before breaking into film music, he toured America and Europe with the Glenn Miller Air Force Band, and then landed numerous gigs as a musical director for such legendary talents as Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Beverly Sills, Judy Garland, and Lena Horne. He also released over a dozen albums of his own piano compositions. A three-time Emmy nominee for Best Dramatic Score, his atypical choice of a somber solo piano for the main titles of The Incredible Hulk was the beginning of a long partnership with writer/producer Kenneth Johnson, who also utilized his talents in V and Alien Nation, among other shows. He was also a film scoring lecturer and teacher in residence at the University of Southern California.

James Doohan, Star Trek actor, dies

James DoohanJames Doohan, the actor known to millions as the original Star Trek’s Chief Engineer Scott, dies at the age of 85. A veteran TV and radio actor who also led Canadian troops during D-Day in World War II, he tried out a number of accents for what was originally a rather non-specific engineer character for Star Trek’s first season before settling on a Scottish accent; even after the series ended, his involvement with Star Trek continued, and he provided nearly every male voice outside of the show’s regular characters in the short-lived animated Star Trek series before reprising the role of Scotty in the first seven Star Trek films and a fan-favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease last year, and made a farewell appearance at Star Trek convention a few months later, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as well.

David Jackson, Blake’s 7 actor, dies

David Jackson as GanBritish actor and music hall performer David Jackson, best known to genre fans as Gan from Blake’s 7, dies of a heart attack at the age of 71. A veteran of the stage, film and many TV appearances (including two heavily-costumed roles in Space: 1999), he played the role of Gan for the first two seasons of Terry Nation’s space epic, only relinquishing the role when Nation decided that one of the characters needed to be killed off to lend the series some gritty reality. He was also an expert on Victorian theater and created a one-man stage show recreating the atmosphere of the Victorian music hall. He continued to appear at science fiction conventions and reunions of the Blake’s 7 cast as recently as 2004.


DiscoverySpace Shuttle Discovery lifts off on the first shuttle mission in over two years (and the first since the Columbia disaster) on a mission to resupply the International Space Station. Before docking at the station, Discovery performs the first Rendezvous Pitch Maneuver, a shuttle somersault devised by mission planners to allow the space station crew to extensively photograph the shuttle’s thermal tiles to identify areas of concern. As it turns out, some tile repairs are conducted on this mission before the shuttle can return home. Aboard Discovery for this flight are Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot James Kelly, and mission specialists Charles Camarda, Wendy Lawrence, Soichi Noguchi, Stephen Robinson and Andrew Thomas.

Soyuz TMA-7 / ISS Expedition 12

Soyuz TMA-7The twelfth full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard Soyuz TMA-7. Valery Tokarev and William McArthur take up residence on the ISS for 189 days. Arriving with them on the ISS for a nine-day stay is space tourist and entrepreneur Gregory Olsen, who personally funded his own trip aboard the Soyuz and returns to Earth aboard Soyuz TMA-6 with the Expedition 11 crew.

Shenzhou 6

Shenzhou 6China returns to Earth orbit with the launch of Shenzhou 6, which, unlike China’s previous manned space shot in 2003, is broadcast on live TV. Taikonauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng orbit Earth for five days. During this mission, the Shenzhou spacecraft displays a previously untested ability to change its orbit. According to some press accounts, the live broadcast of the launch – an unusual step for China’s space program – is accompanied by the sound of the original 1970s theme from Battlestar Galactica.