At an all-star San Diego Comic Con panel celebrating 50 years of Star Trek, Bryan Fuller, the showrunner of the upcoming series (announced in late 2015), reveals key details of the show: the series is titled Star Trek: Discovery, following the U.S.S. Discovery, NCC-1031, in a time period between the original series and the early 21st century prequel series, Star Trek: Enterprise. Test renders of the ship are shown, hearkening back to an abandoned Ralph McQuarrie redesign of the Enterprise from the never-made 1970s movie Star Trek: Planet Of The Titans. The series takes place in the “prime” timeline of all of the previous TV series, rather than the alternate timeline of the J.J. Abrams-produced movies since 2009.
Actor Leo McKern, best known for starring as Horace Rumpole in Rumpole Of The Bailey as well as being the more frequently recurring face of “Number Two” in The Prisoner, dies at a nursing home in Bath, England at the age of 82. Born in Australia, Mr. McKern made his mark in British television and in film, with appearances in Lawrence Of Arabia and the Beatles’ Help!.
NOAA’s GOES-12 Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite is launched from Cape Canaveral into geosynchronous orbit to monitor weather patterns over the United States. It will be held in reserve until 2003, when it will be moved to the GOES-EAST position to replace GOES-8, which is nearly out of fuel. Though GOES-11 has been in orbit longer than GOES-12, this satellite is activated first to use a solar imaging instrument (which will fail in 2006). Once in its active position, GOES-12 suffers from chronic thruster problems due to errors made during wiring of its primary and backup maneuvering thrusters; one outage will prove to be severe enough that the still-active GOES-10 must cover GOES-EAST coverage. In 2008, another thruster glitch will cause GOES-12 to temporarily lose all attitude control. In 2010, GOES-13 will replace GOES-12 in the GOES-EAST orbit thanks to the continued attitude control issues; GOES-12 remains in orbit as a backup.
Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off on a five-day mission to deploy the Chanda X-Ray Observatory satellite. The first American space mission with a woman in the commander’s seat, this flight also includes some ultraviolet astronomy experiments, and sees the first test of HDTV equipment in space. Aboard Columbia for her 26th mission are Commander Eileen Collins, Pilot Jeff Ashby, and mission specialists Steven Hawley, Catherine Coleman and Michel Tognini. After landing, Columbia is removed from the orbiter rotation with the intention of permanent retirement, though a demanding launch schedule convinces NASA to upgrade Columbia and return the flagship of the shuttle fleet to service in 2002.
Japanese import Moon Cresta bursts into American arcades, challenging veterans of previous slide-and-shoot space games to dodge its never-ending waves of multi-colored invaders. Also on display is the best metaphor ever for “extra lives”: the player has to assemble a three-stage rocket to fight off the attackers.
The Soviet Union launches Soyuz 37 on a week-long mission to visit space station Salyut 6. Part of the Interkosmos series, Soyuz 37 carries an international crew consisting of veteran cosmonaut Viktor Gorbatko and the first Vietnamese space traveler, Pham Tuan. Joint experiments are conducted with the long-duration crew of Salyut 6/Soyuz 35, and the Soyuz 37 crew departs in the Soyuz 36 capsule on July 31st, leaving the station crew with a fresh vehicle with which to make their own return home.
Originally named ERTS-1 (Earth Resource Technology Satellite), NASA’s Landsat satellite, based on the Nimbus weather satellites, is launched to begin constant observations of Earth’s land, air and oceans. Landsat 1’s tour of duty lasts just under six years, during which it discovers a previously unknown island – never before spotted from land or sea – off the northeastern Canadian coast. Landsat 1 remains in service through 1978.