Every day, pilots and astronauts face life-or-death situations when they risk their lives to test the capabilities of physics and science. With limited time, harsh conditions and the pressure of survival, they must do everything they can to make it back on the ground safely.
A new television series, “Survival in the Skies,” tells the stories behind incredible pieces of space and aviation technology, from the invention of the parachute to the development of space suits.
The premiere episode, “Survival in the Skies: Space Suits,” airs Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on the Smithsonian Channel.
That episode reveals the technology that allowed Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon in 1969 and which will eventually allow explorers to walk on Mars.
Engineers, fashion designers and astronauts tell the story of a spacecraft you can wear. From the first crude suits that nearly killed early cosmonauts, to the reusable personal habitats of the Space Station, discover the evolution of the technology that allows humans to thrive in the most hostile conditions in the universe.
Subsequent episodes are:
Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 5: Parachutes have saved more than 100,000 lives since their invention, and using one is now safer than driving a car.
But the development of this life-saver required huge leaps of faith by pioneering engineers and courageous test jumpers who risked their lives for innovation. Discover the untold story of parachutes, from the early test-jumps from World War I biplanes to the massive chutes that land vehicles on Mars.
Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 12: When a fighter jet is spiraling out of control, a rocket-powered ejection seat may be the pilot’s only hope of salvation.
Originally designed as a spring-loaded chair, todays ejection seats are $100,000 computer-controlled flying machines that have saved the lives of over 10,000 pilots. Discover the stories of the pilots whose lives were saved and the inventors who risked it all to design and test new generations of ejection seats.
THE JET RACE
Premieres Tuesday, Dec. 19: The jet engine changed civilization forever, making global travel cheaper and faster. More than 100,000 commercial jet flights take off and land every day, while super high-tech military jets can blast through the sky at over six times the speed of sound.
From the first prototype gas-turbine engine to tomorrows hypersonic jets, this is the history of the jet innovation, told by the inventors and pioneers who risked their lives to pilot them to new heights and speeds.