The Lost Saucer: Land Of The Talking Plants

The Lost SaucerABC airs the 16th and final episode of Sid & Marty Krofft’s The Lost Saucer, starring Jim Nabors (The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle USMC) and Ruth Buzzi (Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In). John Fiedler guest stars. The Lost Saucer will join the Krofft Supershow rotation the following year (and for years afterward) on ABC.

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Space Panic

Space PanicUniversal (a video game manufacturer unrelated to the Hollywood studio of the same name) introduces the minor arcade classic Space Panic, a game which goes down in history primarily for inspiring the home computer game hit Lode Runner later in the decade. Space Panic is also the first arcade game in which success is dependent on the player climbing ladders, a year before the release of Donkey Kong.

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Twilight Zone: Episode 13

The Twilight ZoneCBS airs the 13th episode of a revival of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Pam Dawber (Mork & Mindy), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation), and Donald Moffat (Logan’s Run) star in an episode comprised of three short stories, including another remake of an episode from the classic Twilight Zone series and an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s short story The Star.

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NEAR death experience?

NEARNASA’s unmanned NEAR (Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) unmanned space probe fails to fire its thrusters for a critical engine burn to keep it aimed at asteroid 433 Eros. The vehicle instead goes into an automatic safe mode and enters a tumble that drains both its batteries and its fuel supply to dangerously low levels, and it is out of contact with Earth for over a day. As a result, NEAR merely flies past Eros at a distance of almost 2400 miles, leaving ground controllers to devise a strategy to re-aim NEAR so it can catch up to and try once again to orbit the asteroid (the primary objective of its mission). This maneuver will take a year to complete.

Soyuz TMA-17

Soyuz TMA-17Part of the 22nd full-time crew of the International Space Station lifts off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard Soyuz TMA-17. Oleg Kotov, Timothy Creamer and Soichi Noguchi take up residence on the ISS for 164 days, becoming part of the Expedition 22/23 crews. All three return to Earth in June 2010 aboard the same vehicle.

Donald Moffat, actor, dies

Donald Moffat as Rem in Logan's RunBritish-born actor Donald Moffat, who left England for the United States in 1956, dies at the age of 87 due to complications from a stroke he had recently suffered. A frequent face on American TV and film for decades, Moffat was a regular on the short-lived TV adaptation of Logan’s Run, in which he played the benevolent android Rem, and was a member of the ensemble cast of John Carpenter’s The Thing. He also portrayed President Lyndon B. Johnson in Philip Kaufman’s 1984 adaptation The Right Stuff, and appeared in countless other movies and TV series, including guest stints on The Six Million Dollar Man and the 1980s Twilight Zone, working steadily into the early 2000s before retiring.

The Starliner’s maiden voyage

CST-100 StarlinerIn development since 2010, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner space vehicle lifts off atop an Atlas V rocket on its first flight, scheduled to take it to the International Space Station. A software and sensor mishap after second stage separation results in the vehicle putting itself into an orbit unable to reach the station, after burning enough fuel to make a major orbital correction impossible. Boeing and NASA settle on an alternate flight plan to allow for other engineering tests in orbit before the vehicle’s planned return to Earth on land a few days later. There is no crew aboard for this first flight, though Boeing contends that astronauts aboard might have been able to override the engineering problems that resulted in the incorrect orbital insertion.