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Jpl Offers Coverage Of Voyager's Uranus Flyby

January 22, 1986|LEE MARGULIES

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is scheduled today to begin a daily TV feed to report on the flight of Voyager II past the planet Uranus, but officials at the Pasadena facility were unable to say Tuesday where the public will be able to see it.

The feed is being made available by satellite to any cable system or TV station that wants it, a JPL spokesman said, but the space laboratory has not tried to monitor which of them actually plans to carry it.

KCET Channel 28, which did pick up JPL's TV coverage when Voyager flew by Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980, does not plan to carry the Uranus programming, a spokeswoman said Tuesday. She said that the station based its decision on the fact that it does not have a nightly news show now, as it did then, in which to incorporate the coverage, and that there are more TV outlets now to pick up the JPL feed.

The JPL programming, which it produces on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, will run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Tuesday. It will include 10-minute updates at the top of each hour on new data, a daily news conference at 10 a.m. and, on most days, an hourlong report on the day's activities at 5 p.m.

The Voyager spacecraft will be closest to Uranus--about 54,000 miles from the cloud cover--at 9:59 a.m. Friday. But the JPL spokesman said that most of the pictures it takes at that point will be stored on tape and fed back over the following three days, at which time they will be shown on the JPL TV feed.

JPL officials suggested that viewers interested in seeing the Uranus programming contact their local cable companies to see whether they are carrying it.

With NBC's "Peter the Great" and CBS' "Sins" going head to head Feb. 2, NBC has scheduled a special Sunday screening of its hit series "The Cosby Show" as a hook in hopes of getting viewers to tune their sets to NBC stations.

The episode of "The Cosby Show," with guest star Danny Kaye, was switched from its announced Feb. 6 date to the 8 p.m. Sunday airing. That's when "Sins," starring "Dynasty's" Joan Collins, begins on CBS. NBC will follow "Cosby" with Steven Spielberg's "Amazing Stories," then go into part one of the four-night "Peter the Great."

"Lady Blue" is being dropped by ABC and in its place starting Feb. 15 will be "Fortune Dane," a one-hour drama starring Carl Weathers as an incorruptible, resourceful troubleshooter for a tough woman mayor.

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