The integrated circuit

Jack KilbyImplementing a revolutionary new take on an idea that has existed on paper since the 1940s, recently-hired Texas Instruments engineer Jack Kilby demonstrates the first fully-functional integrated circuit, with all of the electronic components encased in germanium. While the U.S. Air Force immediately places an order for TI’s new integrated circuits, other engineers continue to refine Kilby’s invention, with Fairchild Semiconductor producing ICs encased in silicon. The move to silicon for ICs leads to smaller electronic devices and the development of microcomputer technology.

Luna 2

Luna 2Soviet space scientists and engineers score another first, launching Luna 2 toward the moon with the intention of a successful crash landing, with the unmanned vehicle sending back data until it is destroyed in the impact. With no engines of its own, Luna 2 is at the mercy of whatever trajectory is imparted to it by its booster rocket, ultimately taking a day and a half to slam into the lunar dust near the flat plain known as Mare Imbrium. A small metal sphere aboard Luna 2 bears the year and country of origin; a replica of that sphere is later presented to American President Eisenhower by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Gemini 11

Gemini 11Gemini 11 lifts off on a three-day mission to continue validating rendezvous, docking and spacewalking techniques that will be needed on the upcoming Apollo lunar missions. With Pete Conrad and Dick Gordon aboard, Gemini 11 becomes the furthest manned object from Earth, using an Agena booster to push itself into a higher orbit that takes Gemini 850 miles away from Earth at its furthest point. After three days of docking, spacewalks and orbit-changing exercises, Gemini 11 returns to Earth.

The Invaders: The Saucer

The InvadersThe 19th episode of Larry Cohen’s science fiction series The Invaders, starring Roy Thinnes and produced by Quinn Martin’s QM Productions, is broadcast on ABC. Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet, Honey West) and Dabney Coleman (9 To 5, WarGames) guest star.

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Luna 16

Luna 16The Soviet Union launches unmanned space probe Luna 16 toward the moon, the first success in the Soviet space program’s ongoing attempt to mount a robotic sample return mission. The lander’s drill-equipped sample collection arm gathers a 35 millimeter, 100-gram core sample of lunar soil, which is then packed into a shielded return capsule for direct return to Earth (seen here after landing). Now claiming that they advocate robotic sample return missions without putting human lives at risk, the Soviets can at last claim a lunar first – the first robotic return to Earth of a soil sample from another body in the solar system.

Roddenberry generates a new Trek

Gene RoddenberryFour days after a party at Paramount Pictures to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Star Trek, the studio sends Trek creator Gene Roddenberry a memo detailing its plans to restart Star Trek on television with a new cast. The studio is aware that a new Trek series has an even chance of succeeding or failing, and challenges Roddenberry to come up with a better idea than the studio’s in-house concept of putting the movie Enterprise in the hands of a team of Starfleet cadets (a concept Roddenberry greatly dislikes). Roddenberry pitches a different concept back to the studio, involving the crew of a starship Enterprise set further in the future than Captain Kirk’s era. With the pitch approved and a new contract in hand, Roddenberry begins recruiting fellow behind-the-scenes veterans of the original series to refine his ideas.

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Julee Cruise: Floating Into The Night

Julee Cruise‘s debut album Floating Into The Night is released on Warner Bros. Records, placating fans of the surprise hit TV series Twin Peaks (Cruise sings the show’s theme song). With lyrics by Twin Peaks auteur David Lynch and music by the show’s resident composer, Angelo Badalamenti, the album is strongly reminiscent of the series’ music; a proper Twin Peaks soundtrack album follows almost exactly a year later.

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Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Discovery lifts off on a five-day mission to deliver the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) into a low Earth orbit, where the satellite spends over a year studying the outer layers of Earth’s atmosphere. UARS also focuses on study of Earth’s ozone layer. Other experiments are carried out aboard the orbiter by Commander John Creighton, Pilot Kenneth Reightler, , and mission specialists Mark Brown, Charles Gemar and James Buchli.


STS-47Space Shuttle Endeavour lifts off on the 50th space shuttle mission (and its own first return flight to orbit). Carrying the Spacelab module in its cargo bay, Endeavour hosts the first Japanese shuttle astronaut and the first African-American woman in space. Over eight days, the crew performs various science experiments. Endeavour is flown by Commander Robert “Hoot” Gibson, Pilot Curtis Brown, Payload Commander Mark Lee, missions specialists Jan Davis, Jay Apt and Mae Jemison, and payload specialist Mamoru Mohri.


Space ShuttleSpace Shuttle Discovery lifts off on the 57th shuttle mission, a nine-day stay in orbit to release a communications satellite and test a new second stage engine designed to push that satellite into geosynchronous orbit. A free-floating ultraviolet spectography experiment is released from the shuttle’s cargo bay and retrieved before the end of the mission, and spacewalking techniques for the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope repair mission are practiced. Aboard Discovery for her 17th flight are Commander Frank Culbertson Jr., Pilot William Readdy, and mission specialists James Newman, Daniel Bursch and Carl Walz.

Deadly Games: One Mean Mother

Deadly GamesThe second episode of science fiction series Deadly Games is broadcast on UPN, starring James Calvert, Cynthia Gibb, and Chrstopher Lloyd (Taxi, Back To The Future); Leonard Nimoy serves as the series’ executive producer. Shirley Jones (The Partridge Family) guest stars.

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Neverwhere: Door

NeverwhereThe first episode of Neil Gaiman and Lenny Henry’s modern-day fantasy series Neverwhere airs on BBC2, starring Gary Bakewell, Laura Fraser, Hywel Bennett, and Paterson Joseph. The series will later be adapted into a novel by Gaiman.

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Hayabusa at Itokawa

HayabusaThe Japanese unmanned space probe Hayabusa arrives at its destination, asteroid 25143 Itokawa, from which it will gather a sample of material for return to Earth and attempt to deploy a mini-rover. Hayabusa settles into an orbit around the sun parallel to Itokawa, rather than orbiting the asteroid itself, and maintains an initial distance of roughly 12 miles.