Americas Secret Space Heroes: Series 1
We all know Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, Sally Ride, and other icons of America’s space program. But behind the scenes, engineers have been the secret heroes, building the spacecraft and instruments that have helped man leave Earth and explore the stars. We reveal the inside stories of how these brilliant minds created such superior machines as the Saturn V moon rocket, the Space Shuttle, and the Hubble Space Telescope, often against incredible odds.
Part 1: Saturn V
It’s 1961 and the Soviets are dominating the Space Race. President Kennedy ups the stakes dramatically, giving NASA until the end of the decade to land a man on the moon. Led by Wernher von Braun, engineers across America work together to build a rocket that will get them to this seemingly impossible destination: the Saturn V. This is the remarkable story of the engineers who rose to the challenge to build the most complex and powerful machine ever made by man, and the impact their phenomenal achievements continue to have to this day.
Part 2: Lunar Module
It’s July 20, 1969. Four days after Apollo 11 thundered skyward from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to set foot upon the moon, thanks to a marvel of engineering: the lunar module. It’s the culmination of years of toil and millions of man-hours of engineering prowess. This is the story of the unsung heroes who built the unconventional flying machines that carried 12 Americans to the moon on six separate missions and made the dream of a generation come true.
Part 3: Space Shuttle
For years, the idea of a reusable spacecraft was the dream of early space pioneers, and in 1981, after almost a decade of engineering toil, the Space Shuttle Columbia finally lifted into orbit, ushering in a new era of space flight. Today, the shuttle’s work is complete but its engineering legacy will outlast those who built it. Relive its incredible 30-year history, from its groundbreaking achievements to its heartbreaking failures, as told by the people who designed, built, and flew this magnificent flying machine.
Part 4: Space Station
It began as an audacious idea: to establish a permanent human presence in the most hostile environment known to man — space. It’s a dream that would bring together two former Cold War enemies and lead to the most expensive structure ever built. Discover the inside story of the International Space Station. See how NASA engineers triumphed over decades of seemingly insurmountable obstacles to develop Skylab, Space Station Freedom, and finally the International Space Station.
Part 5: Hubble Telescope
The Hubble Telescope, launched in 1990, has captured unparalleled views of the universe, transforming modern astronomy and transfixing the world with its spectacular images. But building this orbiting observatory would prove to be a rollercoaster ride for all involved, requiring engineers, scientists, and astronauts to venture into uncharted territory. From construction to release, from ridicule to redemption, this is the story of the unsung heroes who turned man’s quest to uncover the mysteries of the universe into reality.
Part 6: Viking Mars
After the success of the first manned moon landing, NASA ups the stakes by aiming for a new destination tens of millions of miles away: Mars. This is the inside story of Project Viking. Witness the overwhelming challenges engineers and scientists faced, not only to reach the Red Planet, but to land their spacecraft and deploy computer-operated experiments to answer the universal question: Is there life beyond Earth?