Produce a live television event from a $100 billion studio that's 250 miles above the Earth's surface and traveling at 4.9 miles per second? That will be the task at hand this spring for National Geographic Channel (NGC) Worldwide with a television event that will literally take viewers beyond the stratosphere.
NGC President Howard T. Owens announced today Live from Space, a spectacular, groundbreaking two-hour television event from Arrow Media to be broadcast live from the International Space Station (ISS) and Mission Control in Houston this March.
With unique access to and footage from the ISS and Mission Control, we'll go into orbit with astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata from the ISS, while astronaut Mike Massimino (most notably known for fixing the Hubble Telescope) will keep us grounded live from Houston. Live from Space will air on NGC in 170 countries, and on Channel 4 in the U.K. It will also simulcast on NGC's Spanish-language network in the U.S., Nat Geo MUNDO.
The ISS orbits Earth every 90 minutes, meaning NGC will quite literally take viewers on a trip around the world. We'll see incredible shots of the planet, from sunset and sunrise, to city lights and green aurora, to lightning storms and shooting stars.
For those fascinated by the recent emergency spacewalks to replace a vital cooling system, Live from Space will show even more intimately what it takes to run this floating world. From space, Mastracchio and Wakata will give viewers a fully guided tour, showing us how they live for months in microgravity. In their own words, learn how they sleep upside down, stay fit, maintain personal hygiene and, of course, (that question everyone is always curious about), how they use the toilet. They'll conduct never-before-broadcast experiments that demonstrate the real-world value of the science conducted on the floating laboratory. We'll also show how science in space is benefiting people on Earth such as the ISS's robotic systems, which are the inspiration for a neurosurgical robot that removes brain tumors. Astronauts, flight controllers and researchers will be featured in original segments from the ISS and NASA Mission Control during the course of the two-hour live event.
It won't just be the astronauts doing the talking, either. Viewers will be able to chat via video with Mastracchio and Wakata and have their faces beamed into space to join the conversation. A first-of-its-kind second-screen experience will also allow viewers to track the space station while exploring the interests of people under its path. This "social-media telescope" will give viewers real-time insight into the collected cares of Earth's inhabitants. (Further details on this to be announced shortly.)
"Everyday at NGC our team tries to reach for the stars," says Owens. "Now we are literally able to do it! We are honored to have secured such amazing access to the station and the astronauts living there, and are exhilarated by the tremendous challenge to show Earth … live."
"We're thrilled to be making this unique event for NGC Worldwide," adds Arrow Media's creative director, Tom Brisley. "The technological and logistical challenges of broadcasting live from space may be enormous, but there's no bigger buzz than creating mind-blowing content that works in micro gravity, on the world's largest spacecraft!"
Live from Space will premiere in March to coincide with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a joint venture between Fox Broadcasting Company and National Geographic Channel. More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Carl Sagan's stunning and iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey sets off on a new voyage for the stars. Sagan's original creative collaborators – writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and astronomer Steven Soter – have teamed with Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy, American Dad) to conceive the 13-part series that will serve as a successor to the Emmy Award- and Peabody Award-winning original series. Hosted by renowned astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson (Death By Black Hole, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier), the series will explore how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. It will bring to life never-before-told stories of the heroic quest for knowledge and transport viewers to new worlds and across the universe for a vision of the cosmos on the grandest scale.
After more than 50 years of manned space flights, Live from Space will launch cable television into orbit with an event that is not to be missed.
Live from Space is created by Arrow Media. Creative director and executive producer at Arrow Media is Tom Brisley; Arrow Media executive producers are Al Berman and Sally Dixon. For National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Madeleine Carter, vice president of production is Char Serwa, senior vice president, production & development is Noel Siegel; executive vice president of programming and strategy is Heather Moran; and president is Howard T. Owens.