IBM announces the IBM 305 RAMAC (Random Access Memory Accounting) mainframe, a computer as large as two refrigerators, containing the new 350 Disk Storage Unit, the world’s first hard disk drive. The nearly-six-foot-high drive consists of a huge metal case surrounding a towering stack of 50 double-sided magnetic platters, adding up to a total capacity of four megabytes. In 1958, IBM will introduce the option to double capacity by adding a second stack of drive platters to the casing. The 305 RAMAC and 350 Disk Storage Unit together weigh over a ton, and are leased to IBM’s clients for $3,200 per month.
ITV airs the first episode of Gerry Anderson’s new live action series Space: 1999, Breakaway. Space: 1999’s lavish budget, sleek sets and impressive miniature effects work make it the TV science fiction saga to beat in the 1970s (at least visually). Isaac Asimov even reviews it in the New York Times, giving the show’s shaky science a pass in favor of dramatic necessity.
The week-long national syndication window opens for the first episode of Xena: Warrior Princess, starring Lucy Lawless and Renee O’Connor. A spinoff from the popular fantasy series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena has already been built up by a three-episode arc during Hercules’ first season, and will end up outlasting its parent series (and making an international star out of New Zealand actress Lucy Lawless in the process).
NASA’s Dawn unmanned space probe fires up its ion propulsion system, breaking its orbit around the large asteroid Vesta. Having orbited and mapped Vesta since 2011, Dawn must now survive a nearly-three-year trip through the main asteroid belt to reach the largest body in that region, Ceres. Successful arrival at Ceres, planned for 2015, would make Dawn the first unmanned spacecraft to have orbited two bodies in the solar system.
Soundtrack specialty label Intrada releases a third volume of Stu Phillips’ episode soundtracks from the TV Series Battlestar Galactica. The complete scores from the episodes The Long Patrol, The Lost Warriors, The Magnificent Warriors, The Young Lords, Murder On The Rising Star, The Hand Of God and the Galactica 1980 episode The Return Of Starbuck are included.