Our World: we now go live to…

Our WorldAn international production caried out live via satellite on a scale previously unimagined, Our World chronicles the activities of several countries in an all-star, real time TV broadcast to 26 countries, with segments aired live from Canada, the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia – the producers, based at the BBC, forbid pre-taped segments. Celebrity guests taking part in the live broadcast include painter Pablo Picasso, Marshall McLuhan, and the Beatles (performing “All You Need Is Love”); events seen happening live include the construction of a Saturn V rocket at Kennedy Space Center and the construction of the Japanese subway system. As laid out in the planning documents for the broadcast, which took nearly a year to prepare for, no heads of state or political figures are permitted to appear; the Soviet Union, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland abruptly end their participation just four days before the airdate, protesting the west’s stance on the Six Day War in the Middle East. An estimated 400 million people watch worldwide – the largest audience of any single television broadcast to date.

Salyut 3: packin’ heat in orbit

Salyut 3The Soviet Union launches its third space station, again based on the Almaz military space station architecture. Salyut 3 remains in orbit for over half a year, and is eventually visited by the crews of Soyuz 14 and Soyuz 15, though the latter mission fails to dock. Despite international agreements already in place to prevent the militarization of space, Salyut 3 is the first armed space station, packing a non-steerable anti-aircraft gun (for defending the station, though from what is never made clear). Fortunately, the space war never happens and Salyut 3 is never forced to defend itself.

STS-50

STS-50NASA launches Space Shuttle Columbia on the 48th shuttle mission (Columbia’s 12th trip into orbit). Using the Spacelab module, Columbia’s crew conducted the first USML (United States Microgravity Laboratory) flight, as well as testing a new system called the EDO (Extended Duration Orbiter) package, allowing the crew to stay in orbit longer than any previous shuttle (or, for that matter, lunar) flight. Aboard Columbia for the record-breaking 13-and-a-half-day mission are Commander Richard N. Richards, Pilot Ken Bowersox, Payload Commander Bonnie Dunbar, mission specialists Ellen Baker and Carl Meade, and payload specialists Lawrence DeLucasand Eugene Trinh.

Perversions Of Science: Planely Possible

Perversions Of ScienceThe sixth episode of the adult-themed science fiction anthology series Perversions Of Science, based largely on stories published in Weird Science magazine, premieres on cable network HBO. Elizabeth Berkley (Saved By The Bell, Showgirls) and Vincent Schiavelli (Ghost) guest star.

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“Decompression on station!”

MirDuring an attempt to manually redock a Progress unmanned supply capsule via remote control from space station Mir, Mir Commander Vasily Tsibliev misjudges Progress’ speed and distance, and the vehicle collides with the station’s Spektr module, breaching that module’s outer skin and allowing decompression to begin. As the hatch to that compartment is sealed off to save the rest of the station (and the crew’s lives), Mir begins tumbling in its orbit, losing power (and all contact with Earth) as its solar panels lose orientation to the sun. With only fleeting opportunities to contact ground controllers, the station’s crew of three has to use the thrusters of the Soyuz vehicle docked at Mir to realign the station and begin receiving solar power again, a process which takes 30 hours; they are unable to use the station’s rest room facility for over 48 hours due to the power loss. The Spektr module is never repaired and it remains sealed off for the remainder of Mir’s time in orbit; makeshift rewiring ensures that the solar panels not damaged in the collision return to service. Most of astronaut Michael Foale’s personal items and experiment data, stored in Spektr, are lost.

Twilight Zone: Season 2

The Twilight ZoneThe second season of Jordan Peele’s revival of Rod Serling’s science fiction anthology series The Twilight Zone streams on CBS All Access. Unusually for CBS All Access, which normally rolls out one episode per week of its original series, all ten episodes of the season are made available simultaneously, more in line with Netflix’s distribution model.

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