This Day in Geek History: May 18
The Earth passes through the tail of Halley’s Comet, and it becomes visible from Earth, against the face of the sun.
Antoine Barnay files the first patent application for a rotary dial telephone in France.
For the first time in history, a preview of an unreleased motion picture is televised.
The first nuclear reactor to use controlled nuclear fission (an atomic pile) is patented following nearly thirteen years of operation. (US No. 2,708,656) The patent, which Enrico Fermi and Leó Szilárd had filed eleven years earlier, was delayed due to the highly classified nature of the technology. Unfortunately, the patent won’t be granted until six months after Fermi’s death.
An F-104 Starfighter sets a world air speed record of 1,404.19mph (2,259.82km/h).
NASA launches the Apollo 10 spacecraft. The mission is a complete test run of the Apollo 11 mission without an actual lunar landing. The mission is the second manned mission to orbit the Moon and the first to travel to the Moon bearing the complete Apollo configuration.
India successfully detonates its first nuclear weapon in the course of project Smiling Buddha, becoming the sixth nation with a nuclear arsenal.
The film Battlestar Galactica, starring Richard Hatch, Dirk Benedict, and Lorne Greene, is released to U.S. theaters. The film will act as a pilot for the science fiction television series Battlestar Galactica. IMDB listing
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Next Phase” first airs. (No. 524) In it, a transporter accident traps Geordi and Ro Laren out of phase with the rest of matter on the Enterprise. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew think the two are dead. Memory Alpha entry
The judge throws out the three remaining issues in the case of Apple Computer, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp..
U.S. District Court Judge Fern Smith rules that Atari Games infringed upon a copyright and patent held by Nintendo by duplicating software code found in Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) cartridges. Atari Games announces that it will appeal the decision. Read more about the lawsuit at Digital Law Online.
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