The Sun Probe rocket is ready for launch at Cape Kennedy. At Solar Control, Colonel Benson is preparing for the lift-off, and is doing the final checks. In less than 30 minutes, the rocket will launch. Inside the rocket are three solarnauts: Camp, Harris and Asher. Benson has the rocket do a thrust check, and with everything working, the real countdown starts. 10 seconds later, the Sun Probe rocket blasts off. On Tracy Island, a news report shows the Sun Probe taking off, but it was filmed a week a go. The news reporter says they hope to bring up to date pictures of the rocket, and then reminds everyone of what the Sun Probe's mission is. It is hoped that the Sun Probe will be able to capture a few fragments of matter released by the sun. Professor Heinz Bodman then appears on the news and is about to explain the mission in more detail, and Jeff asks where Brains is as he might want to see this. Scott says this stuff is old news to him and he's busy in his lab playing with his new invention. Brains' new invention is a robot called Braman. He is trying to get his robot to learn things, such as the things Brains needs to do in a day, but he is slow to respond. He wonders if teaching him chess would improve his mathematical powers. Scott comes in and tells Brains there is an interesting program on about the Sun Probe so he goes off to watch it. The news report shows how the front part of the rocket is actually a separate module, and can detach. This probe module will fly near a solar flare and collect the matter. If all goes to plan, they will acquire an actual piece of the sun.
Close Encounter with the SunEdit
Inside the rocket, the three solarnauts are well protected from the extreme heat they will encounter, and as things get warmer, they have a special refrigeration unit which keeps the temperature inside the rocket cool. They look on a screen and see the sun, and prepare to go into orbit around it. Brains has decided not to watch the report and instead teaches Braman how to play chess, which he seems to pick up quickly. Jeff asks him if he wants to watch, as the rocket will go into orbit in 5 minutes, but Brains says it is actually 4 and one quarter minutes to be precise. He knows the mission by heart. Meanwhile, the solarnauts fire the rocket's retros to slow it down. The radiation and temperature levels are fine, and they've done it -they are now orbiting the sun. The probe module is detached and the solarnauts watch as it heads straight towards a solar prominence. It passes by it successfully, and it appears that the mission is complete -they have got the sun fragments. The news report shows the probe reattach to the front of the rocket. Brains is watching from the back and suddenly says that he does not think they are going to make it. Jeff asks why as everything is going fine, but then the reporter says that something has gone wrong! He says that there is a problem with the rocket, as it is now on a collision course with the sun itself. Jeff asks what went wrong and Brains believes that it was when the sun probe module reattached to the main rocket, the rocket had to steer onto a collision course with the sun. Brains thinks that the radiation levels at that distance from the sun have interfered with the computers inside the rocket, locking down the control systems. This means that the solarnauts cannot fire the retros and break away. Brains mentions that the Solar Control Centre in Cape Kennedy can use a radio beam to make the rocket's retros fire, but the distance between the control centre and the rocket is now so great that he doubts their beam will break through the radiation. Colonel Benson then appears on the screen, as he explains that their efforts to fire the rocket's retros have failed, but he has a request: he asks International Rescue to contact the Solar Control Centre.
A Two Way RescueEdit
Jeff contacts Benson and finds out everything they know. He tells him this will be a tough one. Meanwhile the solarnauts try the retros again, but nothing happens, and they realise the radiation levels must be preventing the Earth from using the radio beam to get the retros working. Harris has the refrigeration unit taken up another level, so things aren't that hot inside the rocket yet. Back on Tracy Island, everyone discusses on what they are going to do. The solution is obvious -they will have to use their equipment to get the Sun Probe's retros fired. They have two choices: either Thunderbird 2 can do it, as it has a more powerful transmitter than Thunderbird 3. However, Thunderbird 3 can go into space, and get closer to the rocket, meaning it has much more chance of success. Gordon says both have a chance of success, and Jeff agrees. He has Brains get the equipment needed ready, whilst Alan, Tin-Tin and Scott are to blast off in Thunderbird 3 when it is ready. Meanwhile, he has Virgil go and work out where the best place Thunderbird 2 should be to try transmitting a signal to the rocket. Later on, the Thunderbird 3 team are ready. In the lounge, there is a certain sofa which can go underground. Scott, Alan and Tin-Tin are on this sofa, which heads down as an empty one moves up to replace it, The sofa moves on a rail to where Thunderbird 3 is, and once it reaches the bottom of the ship, it moves up to put the three crew members inside of it. As Scott and Tin-Tin put their safety belts on, Alan goes to the control room and launches Thunderbird 3. Alan and Scott get changed and figure out how long it will take them to get in range. Alan tells them that they will reach the danger zone within 65 hours, giving Tin-Tin plenty of time to make sure all the electronics are set up, as she will be the one using the radio beam. Back on Earth, inside Thunderbird 2's hangar Virgil and Brains are getting everything they need ready to be put in one of the pods. The main thing they are taking is a transmitter truck, but Brains also decides to take with them a mobile computer, and points out that it is in a box behind them. Minutes later, Virgil and Brains are onboard Thunderbird 2, and take off. Jeff tells Gordon that he has never been so unsure on the success of a mission. Meanwhile the Sun Probe is going to collide with the sin within 24 hours, and the auto refrigeration unit is at the maximum level. Part of the cockpit begins to smoke from the intense heat. Thunderbird 3 has gotten within several hours worth of distance, and Alan contacts the solarnauts. He has Tin-Tin use the radio beam, but the signal it sends is too weak and he and Scott realise that they will need to move Thunderbird 3 closer towards the sun for it to work. They are not happy about this as it means they will have to get much closer to the sun as they thought, and think that the problem the Sun Probe had with the retro could also happen to Thunderbird 3. However they don't want to let the three solarnauts die. Word reaches Tracy Island of the problem, and whilst Jeff is fine with his own sons being put into a potentially life threatening situation, he is not fine with Tin-Tin. Kyrano then appears and says that if he were to ask her, he knows what the answer would be. He and his daughter owe Jeff their lives, and so it is the right thing for her to do. Virgil then contacts his father and says that they have arrived in the Himalayas, and will be landing in just over 3 minutes. Thunderbird 2 is unfortunately in a snow storm, but Virgil manages to land. He lets his father know and finds out from him that the first radio beam attempt from Thunderbird 3 has been a failure, and they are going to be moving closer to the sun. Virgil hopes he and Brains will have more luck. The two go down to the pod and roll out in the transmitter truck, heading to a place where they should be able to send a clear signal beam. As they set things up, Alan has Tin-Tin try and use Thunderbird 3's beam again, and whilst it travel further than before, it still comes up short. Scott says they will have to continue towards the sun for another 2 hours before they get in range. Alan hopes they can all stand up to the heat. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Brains activates the transmitter truck's beam and whilst it is very powerful, it isn't quite strong enough to reach the Sun Probe. Brains says he can work on the transmitter and do some adjustments which should give the signal a boost, and they can try it again when he is done. Meanwhile the Sun Probe is beginning to burn up, and Harris says some of the systems aren't working properly any more. He and the others can't stand the heat, and they can't get the refrigeration unit to do anything. The crew of Thunderbird 3 are getting hot also, but Alan has Tin-Tin try the beam for a third time. It still isn't quite powerful enough to get to the Sun Probe. Alan doesn't want to get any closer to the sun and asks if there is anything Tin-Tin can do about making the beam stronger. Tin-Tin suggests overloading the beam with more power, and Alan lets her do it. The beam is sent out for the fourth time, but this time, it works, and reaches the Sun Probe. Seconds after this happens, the rocket's retros finally fire, and the ship begins to turn around, away from the sun. Asher and Camp have passed out but Harris realises that the retros have just fired, and that they are going to live.
Thunderbird 3 in TroubleEdit
Back on Thunderbird 3, Alan says they've done it and they can head for home. He fires Thunderbird 3's retros...but they don't work! Now Thunderbird 3 is on a collision course with the sun! Jeff and Gordon are watching the news, where a reporter says the Sun Probe has changed course. He is about to thank International Rescue for what they have done, when he finds out something terrible -the tracking station has reported that the International Rescue spacecraft is now on a collision course with the sun. Gordon says the retros must have failed on Thunderbird 3, whilst Jeff says they need to contact Brains straight away. He tells Brains and Virgil what has happened, and Virgil asks what Brains what on Earth they can do about it. Brains says that Thunderbird 3's beam transmitter could still be operating, locking the craft onto the sun. The radiation has interfered with the ship's systems. They could neutralize Thunderbird 3's beam signal to stop it, and the retros should fire. He doesn't know the beam's frequency, but could work it out by using the mobile computer they have in the pod. Meanwhile, Alan thinks the reason the retros haven't fired have got something to do with the beam being left on, and asks if Tin-Tin has switched it off. She doesn't respond as she has passed out due to the heat, and so has Scott. Alan heads down towards where Tin-Tin is.
Braman Saves the DayEdit
Brains and Virgil are back in Thunderbird 2, and head towards the box with the mobile computer in it...but when they open it up, they find Braman -they've got the wrong box! Meanwhile Alan reaches the room Tin-Tin is in, but collapses without managing to switch the beam off. Virgil asks if Brains could work out the formula for the frequency on paper, but finds out that without a computer, it would take weeks. Virgil asks if he could use Braman, since he is a computer, and Brains says of course. He switches the robot on and tells him he wants him to work out the following equation. Brains gives Braman a very long and complicated equation to work out. After making a lot of clicking noises, Braman has an answer: 450,969. Brains hopes his creation is right and then he and Virgil go back out to the truck. Virgil lets his father know on what they are going to try, and then Brains has the transmitter lined up and turned on. The beam comes closer and closer to reaching the target, and as Brains and Virgil nervously watch, they eventually get a signal from Thunderbird 3 -it is now moving away from the sun, meaning the retros have fired. Virgil tells his father the news and he is very relieved, saying that he is proud of International Rescue today. A few days later, after Thunderbird 3 has returned, Brains has improved his robot -so much so that it beats him in a game of chess! Brains can't believe it, as he just doesn't understand how a robot can have be more intelligent than him. Jeff says it must have just been a fluke -he has been working hard lately and didn't concentrate on the game. Brains goes with that logic. As Alan, Scott and Tin-Tin thank Brains for his hard work, Braman shows a bit of humanity by also thanking him.