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Secrets of the Space Shuttle

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The story of NASA's iconic Space Shuttle program, from its very first test flight to its final mission.

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The Shuttle Challenger's destruction causes the United States to consider grounding its fleet for good, but the Hubble Telescope may save NASA's reputation.
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The Space Shuttles are intended to be a safe and cost-effective way to get into space, but ignorance and an impending shutdown threaten the fleet.

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When people think of American space travel, the first names that come to their minds are usually the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Sally Ride. Like with most massive projects like NASA's, there are a number of people behind the scenes who work tirelessly to get to the point where astronauts can go into space. Those people, however, aren't household names like the folks who blast off on the space shuttles. This series profiles the secret heroes, engineers who helped build the spacecraft and other instruments that have allowed astronauts to launch into space to explore the world beyond what's visible from Earth. The show reveals the stories behind how they created such machines as the Saturn V moon rocket and the Hubble Space Telescope.
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The first 60 years of space exploration through footage and firsthand accounts.
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Contemporary issues in science are explored.
Thinking of taking that vacation to space anytime soon? This series examines what it might entail, from the drastic climate shifts to the stunning sights, by bringing viewers up close with these distant worlds via advanced animation. Back on Earth, extreme environments, such as Hawaii's volcanoes or the Atacama Desert in Chile, are visited by NASA scientists to approximate what a trip to the other planets might be like. Segments also include a preview of a soon-to-launch space probe to Jupiter, and what the first manned mission to Mars will be like.