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Greenlit: Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem, Channel 4

Astronauts: Houston We Have a Problem  w/t (1 x 60′) – Mission Control opens its doors to allow cameras to follow the crucial work of the flight controllers, scientists, engineers, medics who support the crew in space. These specialists in their respective fields work tirelessly to anticipate and deal with every potential incident or emergency. With unique access, this programme reveals how any problems are dealt with in real-time. It examines challenges faced by the astronauts and ground controllers when crises occur in space such as Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s near drowning due to a recent helmet leak during a spacewalk and how the ground crew supported astronaut Chris Hadfield during another spacewalk.

The programme follows Mike Massimino and the mission to fix the Hubble and the work that TOPO (Trajectory operations Officer) does to make sure the ISS and its crews stay safe from flying debris – showing how reality differs from the recent Hollywood depiction in ‘Gravity’. The TOPO flight controller is responsible for planning and tracking the current location and destination of the ISS and its supporting vehicles. By planning all station orbital manoeuvres, the TOPO flight controller can ensure the ISS is not impacted by space debris that orbits the Earth. These stories give a real insight to the teamwork that goes into problem solving at NASA and how different disciplines combine to come up with a solution. This is encapsulated by the team effort required to successfully carry out two emergency spacewalks during the current mission this Christmas. Experienced astronaut Rick Mastracchio and first timer Mike Hopkins made two trips out of the ISS to replace a broken cooling system which temporarily impaired half of the station and halted vital scientific experiments.

Channel: Channel 4

Producer: Arrow Media

TX: March 2014

Source: Channel 4 press release


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