First view of Earth from space

EarthMounting a 35mm film camera into a captured German V2 rocket launched to an altitude of 65 miles, scientists and engineers at the U.S. Navy’s White Sands Missile Range capture the first photo of Earth from space. (The previous highest-altitude photos taken were from a hot-air balloon in 1935, from an altitude of less than 14 miles, although at that altitude the photos did reveal the curvature of the Earth.) The rocket and camera are destroyed when they fall back to Earth, but the reinforced film cartridge survives. This is the first of many such experimental flights carried out at White Sands.

A For Andromeda: The Monster

A For AndromedaThe fourth episode of the British science fiction series A For Andromeda, created and written by John Elliot and astronomer Fred Hoyle, is broadcast on the BBC, starring Esmond Knight and Julie Christie. Despite being considered a seminal early British science fiction series, much of A For Andromeda, including this episode, no longer exists in the BBC’s archives.

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The Invaders: Dark Outpost

The InvadersThe 25th 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. Andrew Prine (The Road West) and Dawn Wells (Gilligan’s Island) guest star.

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A new recruit for the Empire

Star WarsAfter nearly a year of George Lucas struggling to revise the script for The Empire Strikes Back after the death of his original co-writer, Leigh Brackett, writer Lawrence Kasdan turns in his revisions for the fourth draft of the movie’s screenplay. Kasdan has been brought on board the Star Wars sequel by Lucas, who is co-producing a movie with Steven Spielberg, Raiders Of The Lost Ark, whose script has also been revised by Kasdan – and at this point, Lucas has yet to read Kasdan’s revisions to the Raiders script.

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Nimbus 7

NimbusNASA launches the Nimbus 7 satellite, the last of a series of experimental satellites designed to test new weather and climate detection technologies. This satellite tests more precise attitude control systems and instruments designed to monitor the layer of ozone within Earth’s atmosphere. Many of the technologies developed in the Nimbus series are transferred not to future weather satellites, but to future Landsat Earth observation satellites.

Quatermass: Ringstone Round

QuatermassThe first episode of Nigel Kneale’s revived science fiction series Quatermass airs on London Weekend Television, starring John Mills and Simon MacCorkindale (Manimal). This is the character’s first color television adventure (his 19th TV appearance overall), as well as the first Quatermass TV project to be broadcast somewhere other than the BBC.

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Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek creator, dies

Gene RoddenberryHaving been hospitalized for several weeks, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry dies in a Los Angeles hospital; his health had been declining in recent years and he had become confined to a wheelchair, leaving much of the day-to-day production duties of Star Trek: The Next Generation executive producers Rick Berman and Michael Piller. Roddenberry is survived by his son and by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who still occasionally guest stars on Star Trek: TNG as Lwaxana Troi, and fans the world over mourn his passing. Rick Berman is expected to continue assuming full responsibility for the Star Trek franchise’s production and creative decisions, a role he had already been fulfilling during Roddenberry’s recent years of ill health. TNG is currently in its fifth season.