Megastructures

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 4 September, 7.30pm

Soaring above the city of Dubai, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest building. In Mission Impossible: 4, Tom Cruise climbs the tower. But that’s nothing compared to the mission accomplished by the team that built it. The Burj Khalifa took 7 years to construct and cost a staggering $1.5 billion. This is the story of a construction challenge that pushed engineering to new limits and beyond.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 12 June, 7.30pm

The eyes of the world are now focused on a sporting megastructure: London’s Olympic Stadium. By day it will be the venue for all track and field events and, by night, a dazzling stage for London’s opening and closing ceremonies. This isn’t just a place where world records will be set. It’s a milestone in sporting architecture. But creating a stadium that’s lighter and tighter is a massive undertaking, fraught with challenges. Will London have an Olympic arena to be proud of? Or will this go down in history as the stadium that failed to impress?

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 11 May, 8.30pm

Uncover how Abu Dhabi’s extraordinary Aldar HQ skyscraper, in the form of a circle sitting on its edge, came to be built.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 19 January, 7.30pm

It’s one of the biggest construction projects in British engineering history. A new high-speed rail line costing several billion pounds and cutting through some of the most heavily developed land on the planet to complete a high speed link between two of Europe’s major capitals: the Channel Tunnel between London and Paris. High Speed One’s design and construction overcame unprecedented obstacles to achieve what many thought was impossible. Step aboard to explore the engineering behind this UK super train line.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Sunday 27 December, 8.30pm

For over 40 years the Big Red Box at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, carried skiers, hikers, paragliders and sightseers up to the 3,400-metre summit of Rendezvous Mountain. But nothing lasts forever, so when cable inspector Norm Duke found evidence of stress fractures inside the aging steel track cables, there was no choice but to tear down and replace Jackson’s iconic aerial tram. At a cost of US$31 million, this two year construction project is a top-to-bottom, state-of-the-art replacement. It will operate in 120 kph winds and minus 30°C temperatures, all with the quiet precision of a giant Swiss watch. Construction crews battle a record-breaking snowfall, zero visibility, high winds and impassable mud-slick mountain roads to build its five towers and two terminals, and string more than ten miles of heavy steel cable as they risk their lives in a battle to finish before winter closes in.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 23 June, 8.30pm

Breaking through over 40 feet of ice demands a vessel of incredible power. That’s where the Icebreaker comes into its own. These behemoths keep the world’s shipping lanes open during the harshest of conditions, making them vital to the global economy. Follow the construction of a vessel that can break ice and carry cargo at the same time: the Arctic Icebreaking Containership. This is the largest commercial icebreaker ever built.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 16 June, 8.30pm

The only purpose-built “flying crane” in existence, the Air-Crane heavy lift-helicopter is the most powerful helicopter workhorse in the world. It does extra-heavy, brute-force work with surgical precision thanks to its ability to keep its hanging load from twisting or swinging while aloft. It’s also the only helicopter in the world with an aft-facing pilot seat to allow the payload to be strategically placed.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC – Tuesday 31 March, 8.30pm

Three teams of engineers are locked in a race to harness what may be the most powerful form of green energy: swift tidal currents and battering waves, the power of the oceans. Each team believes it can solve a portion of the world’s energy needs. They’re testing three different machines designed to be placed in the water and convert oceanic energy into electricity. But getting the machine from the design stage to implementation is a difficult challenge and now each team prepares to install their systems and turn them on for the first time. If they succeed, they could radically change the way we power our planet.

Tuesday 24 March, 8.30pm on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

New Zealand Premiere!

Railroads are the backbone of American industry. 170,000 miles of track crisscross the country from coast to coast, moving two quadrillion tons of freight every year. But nothing lasts forever, and that includes a couple of 180-ton locomotives. Their engine technology is inefficient so they’re headed for the scrap dealer where they’ll be cut down and cannibalised. Any salvageable parts must come out intact for resale, while any leftover metals – like steel and copper – will be cut up, melted down and ultimately reformed into new products. In this business, nothing goes to waste. Take an inside look at the unknown world of scrap, where locomotives go to die and be reborn.

Tuesday 17 March, 8.30pm on NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

New Zealand Premiere!

In the extreme Russian north a team of engineers are ready to dismantle a Typhoon-class submarine – the world’s largest nuclear submarine. In its heyday, this monster sub was a terrifying weapon of war. It prowled the oceans of the world armed with 20 deadly nuclear missiles. Now that the Cold War is over, the Typhoon is ready for demolition. But dismantling a submarine with two nuclear reactors is a risky mission. It will take the team over a year to remove the radioactive nuclear fuel, move the submarine into the dry dock and cut its hull into pieces small enough for recycling.