American Experience

Space Men

Episode: In the 1950s and early '60s, a small band of high-altitude pioneers exposed themselves to the extreme forces of the space age long before NASA's acclaimed Mercury 7 would make headlines. 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.

Air Date 3/1/16

Upcoming Air Dates
  • Edison: American Experience |
    Tuesday, Jun 14 at 8pm TPT 2
  • Edison: American Experience |
    Wednesday, Jun 15 at 2am TPT 2
  • Mount Rushmore: American Experience |
    Wednesday, Jun 29 at 11pm TPT 2
  • Mount Rushmore: American Experience |
    Thursday, Jun 30 at 5am TPT 2
  • Death and the Civil War: American Experience |
    Sunday, Jul 3 at 4pm TPT 2
  • Big Burn: American Experience
    In August 1910, a massive wildfire swept across the Northern Rockies, devouring more than three million acres in 36 hours. The catastrophe would define the fledgling U.S. Forest Service and the nation's fire policy for much of the 20th century.
    Tuesday, Jul 5 at 7pm TPT 2
    Wednesday, Jul 6 at 1am TPT 2
  • Death and the Civil War: American Experience
    From filmmaker Ric Burns, "Death and the Civil War" explores an essential but largely overlooked aspect of the most pivotal event in American history. With the coming of the Civil War and the staggering casualties it ushered in, death entered the experience of the American people as it never had before -- permanently altering the character of the republic, and the psyche of the American people. The work of contending with death on an unprecedented scale propelled extraordinary changes in the inner and outer life of Americans-- posing challenges for which there were no ready answers when the war began -- challenges that called forth remarkable and eventually heroic efforts as Americans worked to improvise new solutions, new institutions, new ways of coping with death on an unimaginable scale. Based on Drew Gilpin Faust's groundbreaking book, This Republic of Suffering -- and broadcast in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of Antietam, the bloodiest day in American history -- the film tracks the increasingly lethal arc of the war, from all but bloodless opening, through the chaos of Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg -- down through the struggle, in the war's aftermath, to cope with an American landscape littered with the bodies of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many unburied, most unidentified.
    Sunday, Jul 3 at 4pm TPT 2
  • Mount Rushmore: American Experience
    High on a granite cliff in South Dakota tower the huge carved faces of four American presidents. Together they constitute the world's largest sculpture. The massive tableau inspires awe and bemusement. How, and when, was it carved? Who possessed the audacity to create such a gargantuan work? The story of Mount Rushmore's creation is as bizarre and wonderful as the monument itself. It is the story of hucksterism and hyperbole, of a massive public works project in the midst of an economic depression. And it is the story of dozens of ordinary Americans who suddenly found themselves suspended high on a cliff face with drills and hammers as a sculptor they considered insane directed them in the creation of what some would call a monstrosity and others a masterpiece. Narrated by Michael Murphy.
    Wednesday, Jun 29 at 11pm TPT 2
    Thursday, Jun 30 at 5am TPT 2
  • Edison: American Experience
    The holder of 1,093 patents, Thomas Alva Edison's name was nearly synonymous with invention. Driven, intensely competitive and never more at home than he was at work, Edison is remembered as the genius that created the modern world.
    Tuesday, Jun 14 at 8pm TPT 2
    Wednesday, Jun 15 at 2am TPT 2
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