Retro: Travelling piggyback

Neil Hudson reports on a month which saw the first tourist trip to the South Pole and a record-breaking drunk down his last pint.

Dateline: February 1977

Tne Big Story...

The first ever space shuttle, Enterprise, named after the starship in the popular science fiction TV series Star Trek, completed its maiden voyage... piggy backing on a Boeing 747.

It never went into space and was designed purely as a gliding vehicle without engines.

It was meant to test space flights and was the first step along the road to developing a fully functional space-going vehicle.

Astronauts Fred Haise and Charles Fullerton were at the controls for the first flight in August 1977.

They made five flights over two years.

The prototype shuttle's working name was OV-101 and NASA had intended to call it Constitution, to celebrate the bicentennial of the US Articles of Confederation, however, a massive campaign by Star Trek fans forced them to reconsider after an estimated 200,000 wrote to President Gerald Ford, urging him to consider the sci-fi name.

Ironically, the science fiction Enterprise had been named after real-life ships, also called Enterprise.

The shuttle is currently displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC, America.

As an aside, the shuttle featured in the background to the first Star Trek movie, and in later off-short series of the sci-fi

A total of five other shuttles were built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds after launch in 1986 and Endeavour was built as a replacement. Columbia broke apart during re-entry in 2003.

In 2004, NASA announced it would retire the space shuttles by 2010 but said recently that budget constraints may force them to continue using them until 2014, when they plan to switch to a new type of space exploration vehicle, called Orion, named after a spacecraft in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Headlines...

The Automobile Association (AA) raised the price of annual membership from 9 a year to 10. Meanwhile, Leeds Council announced an increase in the cost of renting flats - a one-bedroom modern flat would cost 5.35 a week, up from 4.76.

And bygone supermarket chain Hillards announced it would begin selling a large loaf of bread for 17p.

Celebrations began to mark the Queen's silver jubilee – in York there was a tense moment after a 25-pound field gun failed to fire during a 21-gun salute.

They had to leave the gun alone for half an hour, after which time an officer from Leeds University Officers Training Corps dropped the defective shell into a bucket of water.

Bus drivers in Wakefield voted to continue strike action after one of their colleagues was sacked for refusing to take out a bus which he claimed had faulty brakes.

Beer supplies to over 250 Yorkshire pubs were cut off by a delivery drivers' strike over a sacked colleague.

More than 100 families living on the Beeston council estate were told they would have to move out due to subsidence caused by old mineshafts.

A man who earned himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records for the most appearances before a magistrates court charged with drunkenness died.

George Arthur Linstrum, born in Tong Road, Armley, made his 1,050th appearance before JPs on August 17, 1974, vowing he would make it his last time. He died aged 82.


Footballer George Best suffered a broken shoulder after crashing his car into a lamppost - the former Manchester United star had been playing for Fulham at the time.

Actor David Soul, right, famous for his role as Hutch in crime-fighting TV series Starsky and Hutch, announced he was coming to the UK to perform a series of theatre shows and perform his new single Going In With My Eyes Open on Top of the Pops.

Fleetwood Mac's Grammy-winning album Rumours was released – it was at the top of the charts for 31 weeks and went on to sell more than 20 million copies worldwide.

Actress Barbara Windsor had to flee her Bradford hotel after a fire broke out. Firefighters were called to the Norfolk Gardens Hotel after a chair in an emergency exit caught fire on the fourth floor. Miss Windsor, who had been signing autographs in her room, said: "I thought it was a joke. I grabbed a wig, my dressing gown and cloak and ran out."

The World...

The world's first flight to the south pole took place took place after 300 people paid 187 to fly on a Qantas jet from Sydney, Australia.

Pilot John Terrell, 48, said: "I hope to be able to drop the plane down to give everyone a view of the icebergs." Luckily, the cost of the trip included the return journey!

A 22kg lobster – the largest ever caught – was caught off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

and finally...

The comic 2000AD, which featured characters such as Judge Dread, Rogue Trooper and Strontium Dog, was first published.