In 1987, Captain William "Buck" Rogers pilots his space shuttle Ranger 3 on a mission but a meteor storm freezes him into an orbit that returns him to Earth - 500 years later. In 2491, his shuttle is found and captured by the Draconian flagship, under the command of Princess Ardala and her second-in-command Kane. Reviving him, they return him to Earth after secretly planting a homing beacon aboard his shuttle to track a path through Earth's defense barrier. Buck is under arrest and learns that Earth has been rebuilt over the centuries in his absence following a nuclear holocaust. Buck Rogers must adjust to the 25th century, and convince the Terrans that the Draconians are secretly planning to conquer Earth.