(But it could be rationalized if you assume there's a particularly dense interplanetary medium in the system, maybe an unusually active star that sends out lots of plasma and has an expansive magnetic field, or something. The "plague" could be some kind of radiation sickness.)
Possibly similar to the phenomena responsible for the ship shaking "ion storms" from TOS and a few other sequal series?
Yeah, "Albatross" is probably one of my 3 or 4 favorite TAS eps. In addition to those elements Christopher noted, I especially love the Draymians; their homeworld/culture, and the fact that the cartoon actually dealt with the death of an entire population. The stowaway scene is a little simplistic but it works, given that it was a relatively short cartoon aimed at kids.
"BEM" is interesting in concept (colony creature, powerful yet protective non-corporeal alien) but falls flat in the silly ditch when the dude's parts start to float.