Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Venera 10 lands on Venus, 1975

Just three days after Venera 9 touched down on the Venusian surface, Venera 10 landed October 25, 1975 at high noon.  It came to rest in the Beta Regio area about 2200km from Venera 9.  Like its sister craft, one of its lens covers failed to come off so Venera 10 could not take panoramic photos and the Soviets had to settle for only 180°.

Venera 10 operated for 65 minutes before failing.

Gemini VI is a (no) go! 1965

Crew of Gemini VI: Tom Stafford and Wally Schirra

The Gemini VI Agena Target Vehicle, launched from Cape Canaveral, October 25, 1965, was intended to be used by the Gemini VI crew, Walter Shirra and Tom Stafford.  Although the unmanned craft launched successfully, a mere 6 minutes after launch, an "anomaly occured" and telemetry and radar beacon were lost.  NASA tried to re-establish contact but were unable.  Patrick AFB radar "picked up 5 pieces" of debris where Agena was supposed to be.

Schirra and Staffrod had been waiting in Gemini VI to launch 101 minutes after Agena, but the mission was cancelled.

On December 15, 1965, the two-man crew in Gemini VI rendezvoused with Frank Borman and James Lovell in Gemini VII, a crucial success in getting to the moon.

Monday, October 24, 2016

"The Manchurian Candidate" released 1962

One of the most powerful, scariest and best movies ever, The Manchurian Candidate, was released October 24, 1962.  Angela Lansbury gives a strong performance and should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, for which she was nominated.  She did win the Golden Globe for her role.  Sinatra had actually considered Lucille Ball for Lansbury's role, Mrs. Iselin, but director John Frankenheimer went with Angela instead.

I didn't understand why she didn't get top billing instead of Janet Leigh because Angela had a larger role.  But I suppose with Janet, still riding high from her performance in Psycho, could garner the top spot.

Newsweek selected the role Mrs. Iselin as one of the top 10 Villains in movie history.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Venera 9, first spacecraft to land on Venus, 1975

Image of Venusian surface taken by Venera 9

Venera 9, launched June 8, 1975, touched down on Venus and transmitted the first images ever from the surface of another planet.  The lander detached from the orbiter on October 20 and made a soft landing 2 days later near Beta Regio.  It transmitted for 53 minutes before falling silent. It detected hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, bromine and iodine.  Venera 9 measured a surface pressure 90 times that of earth and a sultry atmosphere of 485° C.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"Damnation Alley" released 1977

Roger Zelazny's classic post-apocalyptic novel Damnation Alley (published in 1969) was brought to the screen October 21, 1977.  The author hated the film version.  I enjoyed the movie but the novel was much better.  The film never explained why Albany, New York wasn't destroyed during the Soviets' nuclear attack.

Jan-Michael Vincent and George Peppard starred in the movie.

Dr. Ronald E. McNair, Challenger astronaut, born 1950

Dr. Ronald McNair, born October 21, 1950, was aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger when it exploded after launch January 28, 1986.  It was his seecond trip into space, since he had flown on the Challenger in February 1984.  He is the second African American and the first Baha'i in space.

He was also a saxophone player and was to play a solo during the Challenger mission but never got the chance.  There is a moon crater named after him and he was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Sounds of the Season! Pointer Sisters "Back In My Arms"

Okay, this isn't really a Halloween song or pumpkin carol, but this album came out in July 1985 and I listened to it all through that fall into the Christmas season.  So I always associate Contact with autumn.

Back in My Arms has been growing on me forever and I enjoy it more and more each year.  Ruth Pointer sings her heart and soul out and it's one of the few songs that can bring me to tears.

Love you, Ruth!!