Voyager 1: Jupiter ahead!

JupiterFrom a distance of 36 million miles, NASA/JPL’s unmanned spacecraft Voyager 1 can already see the planet Jupiter in far greater detail than the cameras aboard Pioneers 10 and 11. Over the next month, Voyager 1 records images as it closes in on its first planetary target, spotting roiling storm clouds and fluid cloud bands with unprecedented clarity; JPL assembles the images into a “movie.” Despite the size of Jupiter at the end of the sequence, Voyager 1 is still over a month away from its closest pass to the giant planet.

STA-099 to OV-099

ChallengerWith a newly-awarded NASA contract in hand, Rockwell International begins the process of converting Space Shuttle Structural Test Article 099 into the Orbiter Vehicle 099, later to be christened Space Shuttle Challenger. A process originally envisioned for the test vehicle Enterprise, it is deemed more cost-effective and faster to upgrade STA-099 into OV-099. The first order of business is the construction of a new crew module, since the corresponding section of STA-099 was never actually intended to house human beings.

Christening the fleet

Space ShuttleAfter several years of referring to the various Space Shuttle orbiters both under construction and in planning by numbers, NASA bestows names upon the anticipated fleet of four orbiters. OV-102, which is still expected to fly “late this year”, is named Columbia, while OV-099, undergoing conversion from a test article to flight-worthy vehicle, is named Challenger. Orbiters 103 and 104 will be named, respectively, Discovery and Atlantis; all four names are drawn from historical seafaring exploration vessels. (NASA has also used some of the names before: Columbia was the name of the moon-orbiting command module in the Apollo 11 mission, while Apollo 17’s lunar lander was named Challenger.)

Blake’s 7: Pressure Point

Blake's 7BBC1 premieres the 18th episode of Terry Nation’s science fiction series Blake’s 7. Jane Sherwin guest stars. This episode is the beginning of a story arc running through the remainder of the second season, concerning Blake’s search for the Federation’s central control facility; to up the stakes, the character of Gan (played by David Jackson) is killed off, though the first choice of series creator Terry Nation would have been the popular character of Vila.

More about Blake’s 7 in the LogBook


SupertrainThe TV movie-of-the-week Supertrain airs on NBC, starring Edward Andrews and Patrick Collins. The movie revolves around the inaugural cross-country trip of an atomic-powered luxury passenger train; the expense involved in creating the sets and miniatures for that train will prove to be an expensive debacle for NBC when the ratings drop perilously for the weekly episodes afterward. Steve Lawrence, Char Fontane, Don Stroud, and Keenan Wynn guest star.

More about Supertrain in the LogBook