In episode #601 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 evil mad scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester called a press conference (the audience of which consisted solely of TV's Frank and, live via satellite, the crew of the Satellite of Love) to announce his latest innovation: a massive tube that tethered the Satellite of Love directly to Deep 13 via Gypsy, the purple female robot trapped aboard the Satellite of Love with Mike Nelson, Tom Servo, Crow T. Robot, and Cambot. This tube, known as the Umbilicus (and also the Umbilicon, the Umbiliport, and other such names) served two functions: to keep the Satellite of Love in a geosynchronous orbit above Deep 13 and to allow the transfer of objects between the two locations. Intially objects were sent to and from Deep 13 via Gypsy's mouth, but after several episodes the tube changed locations to a simple airlock on the bridge of the Satellite of Love. For the record the Umbilicus is 227 miles long and, for the sake of storytelling, items sent through it reach their destination in roughly ten seconds. For an item to travel at this speed, said item must be traveling roughly 82,000 miles per hour.

The Umbilicus was largely forgotten about as the Season Six progressed, although it was utilized in a few memorable host segment sketches. At the end of episode #601, Girlstown, Mike shot a pie down the tube straight into Dr. Forrester's face. Episode #611, Last Of The Wild Horses, saw a matter transference device sent up from Deep 13. The device set off a chain of events that flung the crew into an alternate universe where it is an evil Mike Nelson and his robot friends in Deep 13 that were sending bad movies to Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank on the Satellite of Love. In episode #615, Kitten With A Whip, the crew greased up Crow and sent him down the tube into Deep 13 in an attempt to find and push the secret button that would bring the Satellite of Love back down to Earth. Instead he encountered Dr. Forrester and, fearing for his life, jumped back up the Umbilicus into space.

When the fate of Mystery Science Theater 3000 was uncertain in 1996 the writers chose to toss the entire premise of the show up into the air. In the final episode produced for Comedy Central, episode #706, Laserblast, Dr. Forrester learned that his funding had been cut and that the experiment was over. He disconnected the Umbilicus, allowing the Satellite of Love to drift into Earth's atmosphere and burn up. However, Gypsy and Tom Servo found a way to access the ship's engines and sent the wayward ship hurling into space towards parts unknown. When the series went back into production for Season Eight on the Sci-Fi Channel the Umbilicus concept did not return, as now a new character, Observer, could sent items to and from the Satellite of Love with the power of his mind, thereby negating the need for a physical link between Mike Nelson and his tormentors.


References:
http://mst3kinfo.com/mstfaq/subtle.html
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide

Um`bi*li"cus (?), n. [L. See Umbilic.]

1. Anat.

The depression, or mark, in the median line of the abdomen, which indicates the point where the umbilical cord separated from the fetus; the navel.

2. Gr. & Rom. Antiq.

An ornamented or painted ball or boss fastened at each end of the stick on which manuscripts were rolled.

Dr. W. Smith.

3. Bot.

The hilum.

4. Zool. (a)

A depression or opening in the center of the base of many spiral shells.

(b)

Either one of the two apertures in the calamus of a feather.

5. Geom. (a)

One of foci of an ellipse, or other curve.

[Obs.] (b)

A point of a surface at which the curvatures of the normal sections are all equal to each other. A sphere may be osculatory to the surface in every direction at an umbilicus. Called also umbilic.

 

© Webster 1913.

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