The Satellite of Love

The Satellite of Love (sometimes shortened to SOL) is a large, bone-shaped space vessel that serves as the primary operating site of the "Mystery Science Theater 3000" experiments. There have been multiple models of the Satellite of Love over the years, as well as a partially-functional replica, the Simulator of Love.


Original KTMA era SOL

The original SOL.

The earliest incarnation of the SOL had a distinctly different shape, with a large midsection surrounded by two intersecting bands, and a round translucent disc on each end. This is the SOL where Joel was sent by Dr. Clayton Forrester and Dr. Laurence Erhardt (aka "The Mads"). Parts from the SOL's Mystery Science Theater (specifically those that control the showing of the movies) were used to build Joel's robot friends, Cambot, Servo, Gypsy and Crow.

Joel was initially rocketed to the SOL aboard a separate ship and appears to have returned to Earth on at least two occasions before returning to outer space. The first occasion saw an entirely new SOL built that would serve as the model for all future versions. This SOL was shaped like a bone, with a long, straight middle portion and two domes on each end (the "epiphysis" area of a bone). Most of the original series of experiments were conducted on board this SOL.

As with the original SOL, the film-controlling elements of the Mystery Science Theater were scavenged for parts by Joel, evidently to upgrade the existing Bots and to implement Magic Voice, putting movies' beginning or ending out of his hands.[1]

The second possible return to Earth was potentially necessitated by upgrades the the SOL's interior and saw Joel sent back up in the SOL itself.[2]

Joel continued to reside aboard the SOL until his sudden departure aboard the Deus ex Machina. He was replaced by Mike Nelson, who lived on the SOL when Dr. Forrester activated the Umbilicus, a tube that connected the SOL to Deep 13.

During Mike's tenure, the SOL was cut loose from its tether to Earth and traveled to the edge of the Universe.[3] The crew then became beings of pure energy and left. They returned in the far future,[4] traveled to distant planets[5][6] and through time (including to Ancient Rome[7]) before finally returning to Earth close to the crew's original time period.[8]

The SOL remained in orbit around Earth for the remainder of Mike's tenure as a test subject. Following a mishap with Pearl Forrester's attempt to control the SOL with a joystick, the original SOL fell out of orbit and disintegrated on re-entry. The last remaining portions crash landed near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[9]

Revival of the Experiment[]

Kinga Forrester, daughter of Dr. Clayton Forrester, eventually built a new Satellite of Love (with new versions of the robots) in order to revive the Mystery Science Theater experiments. This new SOL had some modifications, including a new widescreen Mystery Science Theater as well as changes to the Bridge and Theater hallway. Unlike the original SOL (which orbited the Earth), the new one was tethered to the Moon. It was connected to Kinga's base of operations (Moon 13) via The Tube, which could transfer people between the locations. The new test subject was Jonah Heston, who modified the 'Bots and built two new ones (M. Waverly and Growler).

After the construction of the Simulator of Love and the capture of Emily Connor to live in it, another SOL was brought to the Moon from the year 3000 by Dr. Laurence Erhardt via the Time Bag. Piloted by Joel Robinson, this SOL looked much like the original, but had no 'Bots. Kinga sent the Bots from the Simulator to Joel's SOL to join him in the experiments.[10]

After the three test subjects devised a cunning plan of escape, Jonah and Emily joined Joel aboard his SOL and escaped through the Time Bag to the year 1991.[11]

Areas and Equipment of the SOL[]

The Bridge[]

MST3k The Movie Bridge Scene

The Bridge serves as the social hub of the SOL. It is where the various crew members gather to converse or engage in comedy sketches, musical numbers or other activities designed to keep them sane. It is also the point of communication with the various Mad Scientist lairs. Other external communication was handled via either the Hexfield Viewscreen on the original SOL or the Jet Screen on later models. A feed was also available to the bridge from Rocket Number 9, an external camera.

Theater hallway[]

The Theater hallway connects the Bridge to the Mystery Science Theater. It features several doors along its length that decrease from "6" to "1" as one travels towards the theater. Although viable for human use, it is most commonly used by Cambot and most test subjects access the Mystery Science Theater through other access points.

The Mystery Science Theater[]

The Mystery Science Theater is the actual site of the experiments. It is a large film theater and is capable of screening many types of media from old television shows to film clips, shorts and full theatrical and made-for-TV films.


Each member of the crew has their own living quarters, although only a few have been mentioned:

Other Areas[]

On-board Space Vessels[]

Several space ships of varying size and functionality have been stored or docked on board the SOL:

Other Equipment[]


The SOL KTMA era version

The Satellite of Love, represented by Thunderbird 3 from Thunderbirds from the KTMA Sales tape.

  • In the unaired pilot, Joel claims to have designed the Satellite of Love himself.
    • This SOL is represented briefly by a shot of Thunderbird 3 from Thunderbirds.
  • The Satellite of Love gets its name from two sources:
    • Jerry Lewis referred to the satellite used to broadcast his Muscular Dystrophy Telethons as the "Satellite of Love."
    • Rock musician Lou Reed released a song on his 1972 album Transformer titled "Satellite of Love."
  • In an early draft of Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Dr. Forrester refers to the Satellite as the Stationary Orbital Laboratory, which shares the acronym SOL with the Satellite of Love. Some fans have concluded that this was the original name until Joel Robinson changed it for his own amusement, and the name stuck.
In the not too distant future

Some " discarded space refuse"

  • A vessel resembling the Satellite of Love makes an appearance in the comic book Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2 #53 (released in 2010) as some "discarded space refuse."


The Satellite of Love
Primary Residents Joel RobinsonMike NelsonJonah HestonCrow T. RobotGypsyCambotTom Servo
Minor/Other Residents BeeperMagic VoiceXT-5000TimmyMike's RobotClayton Forrester (mirror)TV's Frank (mirror)Eddie Nelson (alternate universe)The NanitesMike Nelson (robot)WinstonM. WaverlyMatt Claude Van DammeGrowlerEmily Connor
Visitors EnochDemon DogsNuveenaGypsy (mirror)Tom Servo (mirror)MonadThe ObserversFinneganHadrianAdrienne BarbeauLydiaOrtegaPhantom of KrankorHenry KissingerBowler-Hatted GuyDelivery ManGoosioMikey the Mike spriteMikesocksy the Mike's Socks SpriteBrain GuyPearl ForresterProfessor Bobo
Terminology AirlockDeus ex MachinaHexfield ViewscreenHyper-warp escape shipsJet ScreenManipulator armsMovie signRocket Number 9The TubeUmbilicusWhirlpool
Locations BridgeCrow's RoomJoel's roomKitchenMike's roomMystery Science TheaterTheater hallwayTom's room