Review: Secret Space Escapes | Virgin Media
Review: Secret Space Escapes

Review: Secret Space EscapesAired Sunday 28th February at 10pm on Discovery (CH 250) | Rating: ★★★☆☆

29/02/2016TV

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Never mind Bullock and Clooney bobbing about in Gravity – this documentary gave us the real deal last night: a thrilling account of the moment a fire almost wiped out the crew of the Mir space station.

In a nutshell

A searing endless fireball is a bad thing at the best of times. But when it happens in a space station, it’s a very, very bad thing indeed. This exhilarating documentary detailed the frantic moments where the crew of the space station Mir – made up of Americans and Russians working together in post-Cold War bliss – suddenly found themselves dealing with just such a calamity. Until that moment, the worst they had to put up with was trying to catch floating blobs of food in their gobs.

What made this programme so good wasn’t just the reconstruction of the fire event (which was caused by a faulty oxygen tank). It was all the insights about the everyday reality of life in orbit. Ex-astronauts talked about the mundane reality of the space station, and how inside it was a “floating mess of discarded gear and trash”, caked with “dirt and grime”. And their fatalistic bravery was wonderful to behold too. Pondering what could have happened if the fire hadn’t been contained, one of them merely shrugged and said “What a strange place to die.” Indeed

What's the verdict?

Packed with incredible footage (now we know how astronauts greet newcomers to their station), and with reconstructions that actually looked halfway convincing (quite a miracle in shows of this type), this was a documentary truly out of this world.

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