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Slipping the Surly Bonds of Earth: Space Exploration Stories on KCTS 9

This spring, we are featuring several programs — both on-air and online — about space exploration. Here are a few highlights.

February 25, 2016
KCTS 9 is committed to providing our viewers with the very best in science programming. We share thoughtful, in-depth stories about the people behind history’s most important scientific discoveries and achievements, the continually changing science and technology that affect our daily lives, and the frontiers of science that ignite our imagination about possibilities for the future. This spring, we are featuring several programs — both on-air and online — about space exploration. Here are a few highlights.
Space Men on American Experience 
Tuesday, March 1, at 9:00 p.m. (Repeats March 2 at 11:35 p.m. and March 6 at 3:00 a.m.) 
This incredible American Experience story chronicles the audacious but little-known manned balloon flights from the earliest days of space exploration. Before the days of NASA, scientists and researchers in the U.S. Air Force were testing the limits of how high a person could fly. Though largely forgotten today, balloonists were the first to venture into the frozen near-vacuum on the edge of our world, exploring the very limits of human physiology and human ingenuity in this lethal realm. 

Watch a preview of Space Men

NOVA: First Man on the Moon 
Wednesday, March 2, at 9:00 p.m. (Repeats March 9 at 4:00 a.m.)
Everyone knows that Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. But this modest and unassuming man was determined to stay out of the spotlight. This NOVA episode presents an intimate portrait of Armstrong through interviews with his family and friends, many of whom have never spoken publicly before. Discover and relive Armstrong’s achievements before and after Apollo, from his time as a Navy combat veteran and later as a pioneer of high-speed flight to his leading role in the inquiry into the Challenger disaster and his efforts to encourage young people to take to the skies. Along the way, we learn how Armstrong’s life became the inspiring story of heroic risk-taking and humble dedication that ultimately advanced humanity’s adventure in space.
Wednesday, March 2, at 10:00 p.m. (Repeats March 7 at 3:00 a.m.)
In many ways, the Soviets were the real space pioneers of the 20th century. Between 1961 and 1966, they realized a number of spectacular historical achievements, including the first man and woman in space, the first spacewalk and the first unmanned lunar landing. This series uses previously unseen archival footage and compelling interviews to reveal the story of the space race from the other side of the Iron Curtain. 
Watch a preview of Cosmonauts

Year in Space 
Wednesday, March 2, at 8:00 p.m. (Repeats March 3 at 1:30 a.m. and March 6 at 4:00 a.m.) 
On March 27, 2015, astronaut Scott Kelly began a historic year in space. Follow Scott and his identical twin Mark Kelly in a program that explores what it takes, mentally and physically, to spend a year in space. This amazing film airs on March 2, just one day after Scott’s return to Earth.
Watch a preview of Year in Space:

Phoenix Mars Mission: Onto the Ice
Thursday, March 3, at 12:30 a.m. 
This is the story of the first successful landing on the Mars polar region and the ongoing search for signs of life on Earth’s neighboring planets. The film documents the 422-million-mile journey through the eyes of principal investigator Peter H. Smith and the Phoenix Lander Team. It follows the international team of talented and dedicated scientists, engineers and researchers as they work to land on Mars, from practice landings with simulated catastrophic errors through the heart-pounding, seven-minute descent onto the Red Planet. 
TED Talks: Science and Wonder
Wednesday, March 30, at 10:00 p.m. (Repeats 4/1 at 4:00 a.m.)   
TED Talks: Science and Wonder takes viewers on a journey through space, the human body, disappearing landscapes and the world of Pixar animation as speakers look at the future of nanotechnology, the search for life beyond earth and the science of light. 
Seattle Space Race
Online right now at
Science fiction is transforming into science reality right here in the Northwest as more and more CEOs in the billionaire space race use Seattle as their launching pad. What does the commercial space industry mean for our region, and what are the plans and goals of companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Stratolaunch Systems?
Watch IN Close: Seattle Space Race online now:



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