Next Episode of Impossible Engineering is
Behind every seemingly impossible marvel of modern engineering is a cast of historic trailblazers who designed new building techniques, took risks on untested materials and revolutionised their field. Brand new series, ‘Impossible Engineering', is a tribute to their achievements. Each episode details how giant structures, record-beating buildings, war ships and space crafts are built and work. As the show revels in these modern day creations, it also leaps back in time to recount the stories of the exceptional engineers whose technological advances made it all possible. How would they have ever existed without the historical work of their ancestors? Interviews with their great advocates bring engineering history to life and retell how these incredible accomplishments shaped the modern world.
Discover what it took to build the largest filled-in, single-dish and most sophisticated radio telescope on the planet. Completed in 2016, the Five-hundred-meter (1640 feet) Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is now ready to scan the skies from Guizhou Province, southwest China. This engineering colossus will help astronomers explore galaxies and planets billions of light years away, and might help discover extraterrestrial life.
The Panama Canal Expansion Project was one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the world. It doubled the capacity of the canal adding a new lane of traffic with a third set of locks. It cost over $5 billion moving millions of cubic tons of earth and rock to ultimately accommodate the biggest ships in the world. Commercial operation began of June 26, 2016.
The Pioneering Spirit is the earth's biggest heavy-lift construction vessel, installing oil pipelines in the world's deepest waters and featuring state-of-the-art thrusters and mammoth lifting beams. It is the world's largest vessel ever constructed, in terms of its gross tonnage (403,342 gt), breadth (123.75 m / 406 ft.), and displacement (900,000 t). The twin-hulled ship performs single-lift installation and decommissioning of large offshore oil and gas platforms up to 48,000 tons, plus installation of subsea, record-weight oil and gas pipelines. The vessel commenced offshore operations in August of 2016.
Enter a state-of-the-art research base located in Antarctica, the coldest continent on Earth. The relocatable Halley VI Research Station is segmented into eight modules, each built atop giant ski-fitted, hydraulic legs, and is located on the floating Brunt Ice Shelf. Operational in 2012, this innovative design helps scientists of the British Antarctic Survey brave the extreme environment.
Uncovering what it took to build one of the most ambitious rail projects in history, London's Crossrail. This staggering feat will span over 73 miles and transport 200 million people a year around one of the world's largest and busiest cities.
Discover what it took to build the world's tallest freestanding tower, the Tokyo Skytree. Completed in 2012, this record-breaking marvel faces some of the most deadly disasters on the planet and must brave earthquakes and extremely high winds. With its broadcast antenna, it stands 2080 feet high and transmits 62 miles.
The International Space Station is the most expensive engineering project ever attempted, and a masterpiece of modern ingenuity. This vessel pushes the boundaries of space exploration and brings us closer to galactic colonization.
The US Navy is the largest sea force on the planet and their new, ground-breaking Littoral Combat Ships are the fastest combat ships in its fleet. Built for speed, these innovative warships can travel at over 40 knots per hour in shallow water (14 feet). The monohull Freedom class and the trimaran Independence class are the first two LCS variants.
The Tesla car factory in Fremont, California is one of the largest, most innovative, vertically integrated factories in the world, containing 5.3 million square feet of manufacturing and office space. This state-of-the-art facility is the home to high-tech robots that work around-the-clock to produce 2000 cutting-edge electric cars each week. With 6000 employees, the first Tesla Model S rolled off the line in June 2012.
The Airlander 10, the world's largest aircraft, combines the latest in technology and engineering to dwarf everything else in the skies at 300 feet long by 140 feet wide. This marvel can stay airborne for five days crewed or up to three weeks unmanned and land anywhere in the world, whether on land or at sea. It's a hybrid aircraft with the best features of normal aircraft, helicopters, and, of course, airships. With no internal structure, the Airlander maintains its shape due to the pressure stabilization of the helium (1.34 million cubic feet) inside the hull, and the smart and strong Vectran material of which it's made. With a payload capacity up to 11 tons, it can cruise up to 100 miles per hour. On 17 August 2016, the first test flight took place at the aircraft's home base, Cardington Airfield in Bedfordshire, England, and lasted 30 minutes.
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey is the tallest roller coaster in the world and fastest in the U.S., redefining the design of all thrill rides. A catapult accelerates it to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and a height of 456 feet with a 90-degree vertical track. This engineering colossus is one of the most innovative on the planet and features Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, the fastest and tallest drop ride ever built at 90 mph from 415 feet. It opened to the public on May 21, 2005.
The Perdido Oil Platform was the world's deepest production and drilling facility when production started in March 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico (second deepest now). It's one of the most advanced feats in modern engineering, producing 100,000 barrels of oil and 200 million cubic feet of gas each day. As a production hub for three fields, it's the first to separate oil and gas on the seafloor. This structure is as tall as the Eiffel tower and floats in some of the deepest waters in the world currently functioning in 7,800 feet of water. The three-deck topside sits atop the world's largest spar moored by nine two-mile long tethers to the seafloor. Cost to build: $3 billion.
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