Recounting space missions as recent as 2013, Science Channel’s new series Secret Space Escapes, premiering Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 10pm ET/PT, tells of the terrifying accidents, fights for survival and stories of close calls and near misses by the astronauts who survived them, and the people in mission control who helped each team avert disaster.
Press release from Science Channel:
SCIENCE CHANNEL PREMIERES SECRET SPACE ESCAPES ON NOVEMBER 10 AT 10PM
All-new Series Reveals Inspiring Accounts of Survival and Resourcefulness in the Space Age
What’s it like to leave earth to explore the unknown? How does it feel to be in space? What happens when you’re in space and something goes terribly wrong? Science Channel’s SECRET SPACE ESCAPES reveals terrifying accidents, fights for survival, and stories of close calls and near misses by the astronauts who survived them. This all-new series offers chilling accounts of the challenges of space exploration as told only by the explorers who lived them and the men and women in mission control who helped each team avert accidents. SECRET SPACE ESCAPES premieres on Science Channel Nov. 10 at 10 PM.
Recounting missions as recent as 2013, SECRET SPACE ESCAPES will draw viewers into the emotional experience of space exploration. The show is told through first-hand accounts by the astronauts who relied upon science, training, colleagues on earth and, most importantly, their wits, in order to survive launches, space walks, landings, collisions, outages and other dangerous situations that occurred during their missions. This is the first time that these triumphs have been told solely from the point of view of the men and women who problem-solved each event – there is no narration in the series, and the stories unfold solely in the words of the people who were there.
Bringing the thrill and exhilaration of space walks to life, in addition to the sinking dread as missions go terribly wrong, a companion virtual reality experience will be released in conjunction with the series.
Featuring rare and never before seen footage, the astronauts and stories featured in SECRET SPACE ESCAPES will include:
- Robert Curbeam and Thomas Jones trained for years to install a new American module on the International Space Station (ISS). During their long-anticipated spacewalk, a valve malfunctions and toxic ammonia flakes from the cooling system pour all over Curbeam. He struggles desperately to stop the leak before the vital cooling system fails. Covered like a snowman with ammonia flakes, Curbeam cannot risk re-entering the spacecraft, where the toxic ammonia could sicken or blind the crew. His only option is to stay outside, zooming at 17,000 miles per hour, 225 miles above the earth, and wait for the sun to melt away the contaminants.
- When a new solar panel on the ISS tears, Scott Parazynski ventures out on a 90-foot arm to make improvised repairs. The solar panels carry enough voltage to fry Dr. Parazynski in his oxygen-filled suit — but if he fails in his task, the ISS is doomed.
In 1997, Mike Foale is on an extended mission aboard the Russian Mir space station when it is struck by a resupply vessel. The station springs a leak, losing power rapidly and launching into an out of control spin. Under extreme pressure, Foale makes an ad hoc calculation using the position of the stars to determine the speed and direction of the spin. He and his Russian colleagues Vasily Tsibliyev and Aleksandr “Sasha” Lazutkin are able to use the rockets inside the attached Soyuz capsule to stop the roll, save the ship — and their lives.
- Hoot Gibson and Mike Mullane are on the second shuttle to launch after the Challenger disaster. It’s 1986 and STS-27 is a classified mission to launch a spy satellite. During liftoff, a video of the launch reveals a fragment of the booster rocket’s insulation breaking off and striking the underbelly of the space shuttle, Atlantis, damaging many of the protective heat shield tiles that leave parts of the shuttle exposed to 5,000 degree heat upon re-entry. Gibson thinks he’s going to die and Mullane suspects they may be facing a serious incident. They have no alternatives – there are no stations to dock to, there is no time to send another Shuttle to aid them and no way to conduct a spacewalk to fix the issue. Miraculously, even with vulnerable unshielded spots on her, Atlantis withstands the heat of reentry because a steel plate just happens to protect the aluminum hull where it is most exposed.
- In 1969, the Soyuz 5 capsule tumbles to earth in a fireball because a malfunction does not jettison an extra equipment module. It’s like a car dragging a U-Haul trailer. When the capsule finally rights itself and the extra modules are jettisoned, its parachutes only partially deploy and the rockets that aid a soft landing barely function. Cosmonaut Boris Volynov lands way off target. Covered in blood from his broken teeth sustained in the crash landing, he manages to climb out of the wreckage and find his way to the door of a very surprised peasant.
SECRET SPACE ESCAPES is produced for Science Channel by ITV Studios America where Vincent Kralyevich and Patrice Andrews serve as executive producers. For Science Channel Bernadette McDaid and Neil Laird serve as executive producers and Lindsey Foster Blumberg is producer. McDaid is also vice president of production for Science Channel.