Science Fiction Theatre: The Other Side Of The Moon

Science Fiction TheatreThe 39th episode of the syndicated science fiction Science Fiction Theatre airs on stations across the U.S. Hosted by Truman Bradley, the episode stars Skip Homeier and Beverly Garland, and concludes the show’s first season. For budgetary reasons, this is the final episode filmed in color.

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Bionic Woman: The Martians Are Coming…

The Bionic WomanThe 51st episode of The Bionic Woman, starring Lindsay Wagner and Richard Anderson, airs on NBC. Jim McMullan (Beyond Westworld) and Frank Aletter (It’s About Time) guest star. This episode’s music marks one of the first uses of an electrical instrument called the Blaster Beam in a film scoring context; that instrument will become much more widely known when it’s used in the soundtracks of such films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole over a year later.

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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.

STS-51L: the Challenger disaster

Space Shuttle73 seconds after liftoff, Space Shuttle Challenger explodes when a rubber O-ring designed to be a tight seal between solid rocket booster segments allows flames from the booster to breach the shuttle’s external fuel tank, causing the tank’s highly flammable contents to ignite. The shuttle is destroyed with all hands aboard. Later analysis reveals that frigid cold temperatures in the nights leading up to the launch allowed the booster’s O-rings to become brittle enough to break – a possibility that NASA had been warned of by engineers at Morton-Thiokol, the contractor responsible for the solid rocket boosters.

Lost in the explosion are Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael Smith, mission specialists Judy Resnik, Ellison Onizuka and Ronald McNair, and payload specialists Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe, the highly-publicized first “teacher in space.”

The Space Shuttle program is grounded for over two years during an investigation and an extensive review of safety and launch procedures.