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The tragic launch rehearsal that nearly ended the Apollo Moon Program. The Mir Space Station collision of 1997. The re-entry failure of Space Shuttle Columbia. Each NASA and Soviet space mission is a high-stakes project with an ever-present risk of failure. This series pays tribute to the bold men and women who put their lives on the line in order to get a foothold in the heavens...sometimes with spectacularly disastrous results. We also show how the close calls and catastrophes of our past paved the way for the breakthroughs of today.

Space Disasters is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (6 episodes). The series first aired on October 18, 2020.

Space Disasters is available for streaming on the website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Space Disasters on demand atAmazon, Vudu, Google Play, iTunes online.

Sunday 9:00 PM et/pt on Smithsonian Channel
1 Season, 6 Episodes
October 18, 2020
Documentary & Biography, History
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Space Disasters Full Episode Guide

  • There‚Äôs a reason rocket science is used as a benchmark for difficulty. See why as we examine great liftoff disasters.

  • From launch to re-entry, astronauts battle the unexpected at every turn. Often the challenges they face are weather relatedabove and below the atmosphere. From freezing conditions on the launch pad to radioactive solar storms in space and from liftoff lightning strikes to hurtling orbital space junk, we examine how Mission Control and flight crews attempt to overcome the elements brought on by nature and by past missions. Rarely seen NASA footage and interviews with surviving astronauts bring these disastrous moments to life.

  • In the high-stakes arena of outer space, the smallest human error can have huge consequences, and as NASA has discovered over the decades, nobody---no matter how well theyre trained---is perfect. When mistakes happen, its up to the astronauts and the ground teams at Mission Control to prevent the mishaps from turning into deadly disasters. Witness some of space explorations most costly miscalculations and narrow escapes, involving a stripped screw, a distracted spacecraft pilot, a botched re-entry, and a malfunctioning $19 million toilet.

  • Troubleshooting in space can be a matter of life and death. From deep-space collisions to deadly chemical leaks, astronauts are forced to innovate to survive.

  • From the Skylab PR disaster to space shuttle close calls and tragedies, look at the challenges and dangers of re-entry.

  • Witness NASA's early missions and tragedies--in the sky and on the ground--as it pushed the limits of space exploration.