‘Sun Probe’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

This is a great episode featuring Thunderbird 3 in an outer-space rescue mission. The first time I saw this episode, it was part of the ‘Thunderbirds in Outer Space’ compilation which I watched on VHS. 🙂

In the episode, the Sun Probe rocket goes on a mission in outer space to collect a piece of the sun. But the mission goes badly wrong when the Sun Probe finds itself on a collision course with the sun.

Thunderbirds 2 and 3 are sent out to save the Sun Probe by sending a radio beam to fire its retro rockets. Will Thunderbird 3 save Sun Probe and will Thunderbird 2 be able to save Thunderbird 3? 😐

The first time the Sun Probe made an appearance in ‘Thunderbirds’ was in the third episode ‘The Perils of Penelope’. Apparently, it’s been a week since the Sun Probe launched from Cape Kennedy.

I question that all the episodes between ‘The Perils of Penelope’ and ‘Sun Probe’ happened in a week. Four weeks would make sense, but in my opinion, a single week does make it a tight squeeze.

It might have to do with the confusion of the production order these episodes were made compared to the transmission order that they came out. I’d have to fully analyse this in more detail in future. 😐

By the way, ‘Thunderbirds’ is meant to take place in 2065. I don’t think Cape Kennedy will exist in the future. Unless the name changes or perhaps they will revert the place back to Cape Kennedy!

The Sun Probe rocket contains three men inside. The three men include Colonel Harris (voiced by Ray Barrett), Solarnaut Asher (voiced by David Graham) and Solarnaut Camp (voiced by John Tate). 🙂

And yes, they’re called ‘solarnauts’ in the ‘Thunderbirds’ future of 2065 as opposed to ‘astronauts’. The launch of Sun Probe is overseen by Colonel Benson (voiced by David Graham and Ray Barrett). 😐

Yeah, that’s confusing. I know Colonel Benson was voiced by David Graham for ‘The Perils of Penelope’, but how come he has this voice-change by the time we are a week later in ‘Sun Probe’? 😐

Whilst everyone on Tracy Island is watching the TV coverage of the Sun Probe mission, Brains is working on his new invention – a robot called Braman. We saw Braman briefly in ‘Edge of Impact’. 😀

When the Sun Probe is in trouble and International Rescue are called to help; Alan, Scott and Tin-Tin go to outer space in Thunderbird 3 in order to find their ‘safety beam’ equipment to free the rocket.

Meanwhile, Virgil and Brains go in Thunderbird 2 to head for Mount Arkan in the Himalayas where they utilise the Transmitter Truck to fire their transmission frequency to free the Sun Probe rocket. 🙂

Incidentally, the Transmitter Truck is a modified version of the explosives tractor featured in the ‘End of the Road’ episode. The Transmitter Truck is painted blue and has a transmitter dish attached to it.

Thunderbird 3 attempts a few times to transmit their safety beam, but they’re getting closer to the sun. The crews of both the Sun Probe and Thunderbird 3 become delirious from the increasing heat.

Thankfully when Tin-Tin increases the power level for the safety beam, it makes contact and Sun Probe’s retros are fired. Thunderbird 3 is successful in saving Sun Probe from colliding with the sun. 🙂

Unfortunately, Thunderbird 3 is unable to break free from the sun and heads straight for it. Jeff alerts Virgil and Brains about this and Virgil asks Brains what they’re going to do. Brains works it out.

Brains suggests recalculating the frequency needed to fire Thunderbird 3’s retros via the mobile computer in Thunderbird 2. Unfortunately, they’ve brought ‘the wrong box’ since Braman is inside it.

Virgil suggests using Braman instead of a computer to calculate the frequency. This works out well in the end, although I don’t think I’d be able to answer the question Brains asked Braman in the story. 😀

In the end, Thunderbird 3 is saved as Virgil and Brains succeed in firing her retros. Everyone returns home to Tracy Island where the International Rescue team and Braman thank Brains for his efforts.

‘Sun Probe’ is a very good ‘Thunderbirds’ episode to enjoy in the series. I have fond memories of this episode as a kid and I’m pleased I’m able to see it in its entirety without any scenes deleted from it. 🙂

Yeah, the ‘Thunderbirds in Outer Space’ VHS compilation cut scenes both from ‘Sun Probe’ and ‘Ricochet’. This happened quite often with certain Gerry Anderson VHS movie presentations, I believe.

‘Sun Probe’ rating – 9/10

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