Part of the 40th full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard Soyuz TMA-14M. Upon arriving in orbit, one of the Soyuz solar panel “wings” fails to deploy, only unfolding properly once the vehicle has docked at the ISS. Aleksandr Samokutyayev, Yelena Serova and Barry Wilmore take up residence on the ISS, becoming part of the Expedition 40 and 41 crews. This crew returns to Earth in March 2015 aboard the same vehicle.
Part of the 37th full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard Soyuz TMA-10M. Oleg Kotov, Sergey Ryazansky and Michael Hopkins take up residence on the ISS for 166 days, becoming part of the Expedition 37/38 crews. Use of the recently developed “fast track” trajectory resumes, taking Soyuz from launch to docking at the ISS in under six hours. This crew returns to Earth in March 2014 aboard the same vehicle.
The soundtrack from the late 1980s children’s science fiction series Captian Power and the Soldiers of the Future is released on CD, including a modern remake of the series’ main theme.
China launches its third crewed space mission, Shenzhou 7, into Earth orbit. For the first time, a full complement of three taikonauts is aboard (Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng), and in another Chinese space first, Zhigang and Boming exit the spacecraft for a 22-minute spacewalk. Also during this flight, Shenzhou 7 passes within 30 miles of the International Space Station, posing no hazard but raising security concerns from the United States government. Because the customary solar panels of the Shenzhou spacecraft have not been installed to allow for the spacewalk (and unobstructed television coverage of the spacewalk), the mission lasts only three days.
IDW Publishing releases the collected trade paperback edition of its Star Trek: The Next Generation comic series “The Space Between”.
With its hand forced by a scoop in the London Daily Telegraph, the BBC confirms that plans are afoot to relaunch Doctor Who as a full television series for the first time since 1989. As the series has only just been commissioned, no casting decisions have been made yet, but the series is to be overseen by writer and producer Russell T. Davies, whose most high-profile project at the time is the gay-themed drama series Queer As Folk (though Davies also contributed a novel to the Doctor Who New Adventures book series in the late ’90s, and has been approached several times by Big Finish Productions to write a script for a Doctor Who audio story). Production won’t begin until sometime in 2004, with the series set to premiere in 2005. The BBC had planned to sit on the news until November 23rd, 2003 – the 40th anniversary of Doctor Who’s first broadcast.
In Japan, Koichi Sugiyama releases the album Symphonic Suite Gatchaman, though it does not accompany any new Gatchaman anime projects.
The 27th episode of the Star Trek prequel spinoff Enterprise premieres on UPN. Ann Cusack guest stars.
An object from space, possibly as much as 300 feet in diameter, explodes in mid-air at night over the mountainous region near Bodaybo, a village in Irkutsk, Siberia, showering the land below with its fragments and destroying nearly 40 square miles of forest. Neither debris nor the actual “impact” site of the airborne explosion are discovered until 2003, when an expedition discovers the destroyed forest land, comparing the sight to the infamous 1908 Tunguska impact zone. Traces of tritium and slightly radioactive cesium and cobalt are discovered surrounding the impact area, possibly indicating a comet nucleus that broke up in Earth’s atmosphere. Despite the size of the object, it was not detected before its near-impact with Earth.
Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off on an 11-day mission to dock with the Mir space station. In addition to routine supplies, replacement parts are brought to Mir to swap out with equipment damaged during the various incidents and accidents endured by Mir Expedition 23. The first-ever joint American/Russian spacewalk is conducted to undertake some of the repair activity and to try to find the location of the Spektr module hull breach. Aboard Atlantis for her 19th flight are Commander James Wetherbee, Pilot Michael Bloomfield, and mission specialists Vladimar Titov, Scott Parazynski, Jean-Loup Chretien, Wendy Lawrence and David Wolf. Wolf remains on Mir to join the Expedition 24 crew, while Mir crewmember Michael Foale returns to Earth aboard Atlantis, having served 145 unusually eventful days in space.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the 48th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, opening the third season. Ken Jenkins (Scrubs) and Whoopi Goldberg guest star.
The eighth episode of the American-made Max Headroom series premieres on ABC, starring Matt Frewer and Amanda Pays. (This is the the American-made drama series, not the music video/talk show series featuring the same character.) Rosalind Chao guest stars.
NASA’s Viking 2 lander confirms a surprising finding first detected in black-and-white images just days earlier: Mars has naturally occurring frost. Scientists try to determine, from images alone, if the frost forms from condensation due to overnight cold (as on Earth), or through some other atmospheric mechanism. But the finding does confirm enough moisture in the atmosphere to condense on the Martian surface, decades before surface water is confirmed on the red planet.
ABC airs the third episode of Electra Woman & Dyna Girl, part of the Krofft Supershow Saturday morning children’s programming block. This is part one of a two-part story, each episode lasting only around 12 minutes.
The 84th episode of Doctor Who airs on the BBC. This is part three of the story now collectively known as Galaxy Four, the first story of the series’ third season. Previously missing from the BBC’s archives, a complete copy of this episode was recovered in 2011.