Enterprise test drive

EnterpriseMated to its Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, Space Shuttle Enterprise goes airborne for the first time in the first of a series of “captive-inert” test flights. During these flights, there is no crew aboard Enterprise, nor are any of the test shuttle’s systems powered up; the flights are intended to make sure that the combination of the 747 and the Enterprise is capable of being flown safely. Further “captive-inert” flights are carried out over a ten-day period.

Man From Atlantis

Man From AtlantisThe science fiction TV movie-of-the-week Man From Atlantis airs on NBC, starring Patrick Duffy and Belinda J. Montgomery. Created by Mayo Simon and classic Star Trek veteran Herbert F. Solow, Man From Atlantis centers around a mysterious man from the ocean (Duffy) discovered by humans, who find he is willing to live among them and coexist for peaceful purposes. Three more TV movies will follow, each successful enough for NBC to greenlight a weekly series in the 1977-78 season.

More about Man From Atlantis in the LogBook

Score Wars

Star Wars scoring sessionAt Anvil Studios in Denham, England, John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra convene for the first recording session for the Star Wars soundtrack. Over the course of the next 11 days, and with director George Lucas in attendance in the recording booth, all of the music for Lucas’ movie is rehearsed and recorded. Williams and Lucas had been introduced by their mutual friend Steven Spielberg, with whom Williams had worked on 1975’s Jaws (whose score had gone on to win Williams his second Oscar); Lucas’ original plan was to “score” Star Wars entirely with classical pieces. The first scene scored by Williams and the LSO is the rapid-fire chase through the Death Star, culminating in Luke and Princess Leia swinging across a chasm; other pieces recorded on the first day include the death of Obi-Wan Kenobi and the iconic theme music.

More about Star Wars soundtracks in Music Reviews

Now, Voyager

VoyagerNASA Administrator James Fletcher announces that the ambitious twin Mariner Jupiter/Saturn ’77 space probes, due to be launched later in the year, have been christened with new names: Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. The name change has been initiated by recently-promoted Voyager program manager John Casani, who thinks the spacecraft need a name that’s less of a mouthful (the name “Discoverer” was also considered). For the first time, NASA openly admits that one of the vehicles – Voyager 2 – may continue on to Uranus and Neptune should its Saturn flyby go well in 1981, depending on the spacecraft’s health.

Star Wars: The Comic

The Star WarsMarvel Comics begins shipping the first issue of its six-issue adaptation of George Lucas’ upcoming film Star Wars, with Lucas reaping the rewards of the licensing arrangement directly since 20th Century Fox has allowed him to keep all merchandising rights to the yet-to-premiere movie. Adapted from the screenplay and edited by Roy Thomas, with artwork by Howard Chaykin, lettering by Jim Novak and colors by Marie Severin, the first six issues offer an interesting visual take on a universe whose visuals were not finished enough for the artist to view ahead of time. After the six issue movie tie-in, Thomas and Chaykin would begin concocting the budding franchise’s first-ever non-film storylines.

More about classic Star Wars Marvel Comics in Book Reviews

The Rings of Uranus

UranusA team of MIT astronomers, flying in a plane modified to serve as an airborne high-altitude telescope, plans to observe the planet Uranus as it eclipses, or “occults”, a star. But the team observes more occultations than expected both before and after the planet itself passes in front of the star. The inevitable conclusion is that Uranus has rings, made of material too dark to be detected by existing Earthbound telescopes. Further observations are given top priority: NASA’s Voyager 2 space probe, due to lift off later in 1977, may last long enough to reach Uranus, and the newly discovered rings must be taken into account when planning its flyby trajectory.

Bally Professional Arcade

Bally Professional ArcadeBally introduces the Bally Professional Arcade home video game system, based on some of the same technology that Bally and its Midway division have been using in arcade games. This means the Bally Professional Arcade is perfectly suited to home versions of such Midway coin-ops as Space Zap and Wizard Of Wor – possibly the earliest instance of real arcade fidelity in a home game system. Its tiny keypad also allows Bally to claim that the Professional Arcade is a home computer waiting to happen.

More about Bally Professional Arcade in Phosphor Dot Fossils