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Rocket Booster Rescue

In this documentary, viewers join the teams who are responsible for recovering and re-assembling the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) that launch the Space Shuttle into orbit.

A huge team of technicians, seamen, and scientists catch, recover, and rebuild these critical vehicles, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, making sure that they are safe to fly every time they are bolted to the side of the launch vehicle. The consequences of poor maintenance are too well known – they were witnessed firsthand by millions of television viewers on January 25, 1986, when NASA lost 7 human lives in the Challenger disaster as a result of a small fault in one of the SRBs. The risks to those who carry out the work are less publicized but very real, and the job is extremely demanding, involving everything from open water dive operations to working with high explosives. The two-minute launch is only the beginning of a demanding and difficult process, where the lives of astronauts and the health of the entire space program hang in the balance.

1 x 1 hour

Original broadcaster: History Television