Doppler weather radar

Doppler RadarThe U.S. Weather Bureau uses a mobile Doppler radar transmitting and receiving in the 3cm bandwidth to measure wind speeds in a tornado striking El Dorado, Kansas, which kills 13 people living in that city. With Doppler radar’s ability to detect and measure the velocity of wind and rain moving toward and away from the radar itself, it is ideally suited for tornado observations and detection. This mobile radar is later given to the Bureau’s National Severe Storms Laboratory in the 1960s, and is the beginning of a lengthy research program that culminates in the nationwide rollout of Doppler-based NEXRAD (Next Generation Radar) in the 1990s.

Manned Orbital Laboratory cancelled

Manned Orbiting LaboratoryThe Air Force officially cancels its plans for Manned Orbiting Laboratory, a space station in development that would have used Gemini capsules and technology to build and maintain a military outpost in space. The airmen selected as MOL crew members are transferred to NASA, where some of them will go on to fly the Space Shuttle, a vehicle whose design is still in its infancy at this point. The Air Force is also consulted on its military satellite launch needs, which are taken into account in the design of the shuttle.

Paramount announces network, new Trek

Paramount Television ServiceNo sooner has Paramount’s movie arm axed Star Trek‘s big screen comeback than the studio’s television division announces the unthinkable: Paramount will form its own network, to premiere in February 1978, taking on ABC, CBS, and NBC in prime time. Leading off the new network’s first night will be a two-hour, made-for-TV Star Trek movie starring William Shatner and most of the original cast (with Leonard Nimoy notable by his absence), who will then go on to star in a weekly series chronicling the further adventure of the Enterprise. Gene Roddenberry will return as the creator of the new series. But within just a few weeks, it becomes apparent that the “big three” networks are ready to play hardball to keep Paramount’s network off the air, from leaning on their advertisers to avoid buying ad time on the new network, to quietly threatening to stop picking up Paramount-produced series for their own fall schedules.

More about Star Trek in the LogBook

ISEE-3 to ICE

ISEE-3Its primary mission satisfactorily completed, the NASA/ESA ISEE-3 (International Sun-Earth Explorer 3) satellite has a surplus of maneuvering fuel left over, and is given a new mission: it begins a series of over a dozen maneuvers utilizing both thrusters and gravity-assists, intended to push it out of its LaGrange point between Earth and the sun and toward a 1985 rendezvous with Comet Giacobinni-Zinner. Upon its final maneuver in 1983, ISEE-3 will be renamed ICE (International Cometary Explorer) and, after the complex series of course changes, will be perfectly targeted for its 1985 comet encounter.

TekWar: Deep Cover

TekWarThe 11th episode of the sci-fi crime series TekWar, based on William Shatner’s novel series, airs as part of the Universal Action Pack syndication package. Greg Evigan, William Shatner, and Maria del Mar (Mercy Point) star.

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Farewell, Kaguya

KaguyaJapan’s unmanned Kaguya spacecraft, also known as SELENE, is intentionally crashed into the surface of Earth’s moon, which it has been orbiting and studying for nearly two years (twice its intended one-year operational lifetime). Having completed its observations and studies (as well as transmitting back to Earth high-definition camera views of the moon from orbit), Kaguya impacts near the crater Gill.