Big Bigger Biggest

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 5 January, 8.30pm

Count down the technological leaps forward that have enabled the world’s biggest cargo aircraft – the Antonov 124 – to be developed. The Antonov stands as tall as a seven-storey building, and has a wingspan so massive, you could park eight double decker busses end-to-end on its wings with room to spare. Its cavernous cargo bay can hold 50 family-sized cars. The aircraft has carried everything from battle tanks to other aircraft to every corner of the world. Follow the Antonov team as they transport a huge train from Germany to India and explore how the aircraft was made possible through a series of six historic engineering breakthroughs.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 29 December, 8.30pm

At 171 m long, the USS Pennsylvania is the biggest submarine in the US Navy. It can dive deeper than a thousand feet, sail for 20 years without refuelling, and remain submerged for up to six months. The vessel carries a crew of 155 men and a deadly nuclear arsenal. Uncover the innovations in six landmark submarines, including the tiny Turtle and colossal German U-boats, that made it possible for engineers to incorporate underwater breathing, torpedos, missile launch systems and stealth technology into ever bigger submarines.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 22 December, 8.30pm

Uncover the technological leaps forward that have enabled the world’s largest observation wheel – the Singapore Flyer – to be built. The Singapore Flyer is the tallest observation wheel on Earth, rising 165 metres into the sky. It can whisk 1,260 passengers around hourly to see a stunning 45 km panorama of three different countries below. Count down the five major innovations in observation wheels like the original Ferris Wheel and London Eye that have allowed the world’s highest observation wheel to be built.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 15 December, 8.30pm

Uncover the technological leaps that allowed the world’s biggest cruise ship – the Independence of the Seas – to be developed. The ship cost US$800 million to build, carries her passengers in unrivalled luxury and is manned by a crew of 1,360 who occupy a vast behind-the-scenes world of control rooms, kitchens and engine spaces. Longer than 5 jumbo jets and weighing more than 80,000 family cars, explore how this gargantuan ship was made possible through a series of six historic breakthroughs on liners such as the SS Great Britain and RMS Queen Mary, that allowed engineers to build ever-larger ships.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 8 December, 8.30pm

Uncover the technological leaps forward that allowed the world’s largest Oil Platform – the Perdido Spar in the Gulf of Mexico – to be built. The Perdido Spar sits in deeper water than any other oil platform, in an ocean over two kilometres deep. This floating factory is capable of drilling in any direction, and in depths of up to three kilometres below the sea floor. At maximum production it can generate enough oil daily to fill 132,000 cars with petrol. Count down the six technological leaps in landmark oil platforms like the Beryl Alpha platform, that enabled this, the world’s largest oil platform, to be built and survive in ever deeper waters.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 24 November, 8.30pm

Explore the giant technological leaps forward that have enabled the world’s biggest space station to be built. The International Space Station orbits 350 kilometres above our heads, hurtling around the Earth at almost 30,000 kilometres an hour. It is one of the greatest engineering feats of all time. Its crew performs vital experiments that will one day allow humans to live permanently in space. A test bed for future missions deeper into space, the space station could enable future generations to journey throughout the Solar System or even live on Mars. Five landmark space stations contributed innovations to allow engineers to build bigger, making it possible to explore the wonders of space travel and push the boundaries of science ever farther.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 17 November, 8.30pm

Filter through the technological leaps forward that have allowed the world’s largest hydroelectric dam – the Three Gorges Dam in China – to be built. The Dam harnesses the power of China’s great Yangtze River. It is over two kilometres long, towers over 60 storeys high and creates a reservoir 600 kilometres in length. On completion the scheme will be able to generate 22,500 megawatts of power – enough to supply electricity to 60 million people. At its peak, over 25,000 men and women were working round the clock to make what was once Chairman Mao’s dream a reality. Explore how this immense project was made possible through a series of breakthroughs on six landmark dams – including the Hoover Dam in America. Each features a major technological innovation that allowed engineers to create bigger dams to generate ever more hydroelectric power.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 10 November, 8.30pm

Zoom in on the technological leaps forward that have enabled the world’s largest telescope – the Large Binocular Telescope – to be built. The telescope sits on a mountain in Arizona, over 3,000 metres above sea level. Like a giant pair of eyes, it stares up into the night sky. Equipped with two giant mirrors, it allows astronomers to see further into space than ever before. Capable of producing images of heavenly bodies with startling clarity, the LBT focuses its two giant mirrors on stars tens of millions of light years away from Earth. Explore how innovative engineering breakthroughs on six landmark telescopes contributed towards the development of this magnificent instrument, allowing astronomers to see ever deeper into space and uncover more about our universe.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 21 October, 10.30pm

The longest suspension bridge in the world, stretching unsupported for nearly two miles over the Akashi Strait, is the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan. Seven ingenious technological breakthroughs led to the development of this super-structure, from robots that paint it to the wires supporting its deck – long enough to stretch over seven times around the world – to its earthquake-proof towers. The bridge is made from over a quarter of a million tons of steel, its 28,000 ton cables are anchored into the riverbanks and engineers built a scale model of the bridge 40 metres long to test how its design would stand up to typhoon winds of up to 180 miles per hour. Find out what the innovations were that changed bridge design forever and enabled them to grow in size and scale… from BIG to BIGGER into the Akashi Kaikyo, the world’s BIGGEST.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 14 October 10:30pm

The biggest aircraft carrier in the world, weighing over 100,000 tons, is the USS Nimitz. Seven ingenious technological breakthroughs enabled engineers to build this super-structure. From its steam catapults and mirror landing aids to its nuclear engines and unique megablock construction system, uncover the technology that enables the USS Nimitz to sail for over 20 years without refuelling, to house a crew of 6,000 men and women, to launch a supersonic jet fighter every 30 seconds and detect enemy threats nearly 300 miles away. These innovations changed aircraft carrier design forever and enabled them to grow in size and scale… from BIG to BIGGER into the USS Nimitz, the world’s BIGGEST.