The Best Episodes of Megastructures
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2019
Take an eye-popping look at the greatest structures and machines ever created as we focus on some of the world's modern-day super-human miracles of construction.
#1 - World's Biggest Airliner (Airbus A380)
Season 2005 - Episode 16
It is the largest passenger plane ever built and it is a 12 billion dollar investment. The episode documents the history of the Airbus A380, from its design concept, its interior features, the precision manufacturing, the logistics, the final assembly and its final maiden flight.
#2 - Hoover Dam
Season 2006 - Episode 4
Exploring Nevada's Hoover Dam in Black Canyon on the Colorado River. The 726-foot dam weighs more than 6,600,000 tons and is 660 feet thick at its base. Completed in 1936, it can store up to two years' worth of the Colorado's average water flow, and generates four billion hours of hydroelectric power a year.
#3 - Super Carrier: USS Ronald Reagan
Season 2004 - Episode 1
The USS Ronald Reagan is a 4.5 billion dollars Nimitz-class supercarrier. Powered by 2 nuclear reactors, the 1100ft. long vessel is equipped with all the necessary facilities to house 6000 personnel and over 80 aircraft. Viewers are given an exclusive look at how the crew of these ‘floating naval base’ is put through a series of test in order to obtain their flight deck certification. Take a glimpse at the various facilities on the ship that keep the 6000 strong crew fed, rested, and entertained.
#4 - Petronas Towers
Season 2004 - Episode 8
Designed by Cesar Pelli, the Petronas Towers were the tallest buildings in the world on the date of its completion. Located in Kuala Lumpur, the design of the 88 storey, 450m tall twin towers, carries an Islamic geometrical influence. The towers are a symbol of Malaysia’s pride. To instill competition, the contract for the construction of the towers were awarded to two different construction companies, each company was assigned to work on one of the towers. This episode takes a look at how the construction companies competed to complete their tower before the other. Problems faced, from the soil samples, the unique cement mixture used as a steel substitute, to the tropical weather, are covered.
#5 - World's Busiest Port
Season 2005 - Episode 4
Megastructure takes viewers on an inside look at how the Port of Singapore is able to move a third of the world's trade through the use of shipping and high-tech mega-systems.
#6 - Air Force Transport
Season 2005 - Episode 14
The episode profiles the C-5 Galaxy, one of the largest aircrafts in the world, and the operations of the crew of the mega-plane. The episode includes a look at how the C-5 Galaxy transports military equipment over to the troops in Iraq from America's Dover Air Force Base.
#7 - Machines of War: Tanks
Season 2006 - Episode 8
No summary currently.
#8 - Akashi Kaikyo Bridge
Season 2004 - Episode 6
In 1955, two ferries sank along the Akashi Strait, Japan, killing 168 children. It led to a 30 year research on designing a bridge that would link the Awaji Island to Kobe; the bridge would also have to be able to withstand severe earthquakes and typhoons, a norm in that area. In 1988, Japan began construction of the world’s longest, highest and most expensive suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. The episode presents a stage by stage look at the construction of the suspension bridge, and the obstacles faced in its construction, including the Kobe earthquake in 1995.
#9 - Itaipu Dam
Season 2004 - Episode 7
In the Paraná River of South America, lies the Itaipú Dam. Costing 20 billion dollars, the Itaipú Dam is the world's largest and most powerful hydroelectric power plant. It is a representation of the efforts and accomplishment of two countries, Brazil and Paraguay. The episode examines the efforts undertaken and the sacrifices made to construct the dam, including how the largest diversion channel was constructed to divert water from the world’s 7th largest river away from the main construction site.
#10 - Autobahn
Season 2004 - Episode 2
What began as a racing track, and thanks to Adolf Hitler’s World War II propaganda efforts, the track grew into a sophisticated high-speed road system, linking to almost all the major cities in Germany. The Autobahn boasts of having super thick road beds, 4% or less grades, wide lanes, and build on layers of technology. The Autobahn allows vehicles to travel at speeds exceeding 160km/h for roughly 2/3 of its roads. The episode profiles the operations of the highway cops, and their reliance on technology in training, monitoring of roads and various methods of arrest. It also looks at the ADAC, an automobile club, which provides on the spot road assistance. Nicknamed ‘The Yellow Angels’, they also provide air medical rescue. The system of maintenance of the Autobahn is also examined. All this infrastructure makes this mega structure into one of the world’s most safest super highway.
#11 - Science of Concrete
Season 2006 - Episode 15
Concrete: It is the most widely used building material on earth. It was a building block of the Roman Empire and is a material of choice for a new generation of gravity-defying skyscrapers. From the sidewalks of New York to the fast-growing Burj Dubai, slated to be the worlds tallest building when it is completed in 2008, concrete continues to be a crucial tool of engineers and architects alike. Concrete's footprint is everywhere.
#12 - World's Fastest Rollercoaster
Season 2012 - Episode 7
Formula Rossa - The ultimate speed roller coaster is part of the world's largest indoor theme park - Ferrari World on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. This awe-inspiring ride takes you from 0 to 240 km/h in under 5 seconds. You can feel mind-blowing acceleration like in a Formula One car. Follow construction manager Andreas Granig and his team as they struggle against aggressive conditions in the desert environment and build up a power system which is unseen in the world. 20,800 horsepower propels the F1 Ferrari inspired coaster train to a height of 52 m and lets it run through more than 2km of humps, curves and camelbacks. See the dramatic installations 50 meters above ground. In their quest for speed the engineers overcome heat and danger to take the title for the fastest roller coaster in the world.
#13 - Baikonur Cosmodrome
Season 2005 - Episode 24
Explore the Baikonur Cosmodrome, crown jewel of Russia's space program. Trace the glorious history of this megacomplex from the landmark launches of Sputnik and the first cosmonauts to its current status as a gateway to the International Space Station.
#14 - Sears Tower
Season 2004 - Episode 4
For 20 years, the Sears Tower held the record for the world’s tallest building. Completed in 1973, the 110 stories high building is almost half a kilometer tall. And it still holds the record for having the world’s highest antenna. John Zils, structural engineer and designer of this mega-structure shares some of the secrets about the tower. And get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the various systems and controls that are vital to the building, like security monitoring, the elevators, and the water and power distribution to the various levels, and even the machines that cleans the windows.
#15 - North Branch Correctional Institution (Hi-Tech Prison)
Season 2005 - Episode 15
High Security Prison, Allegany County, Maryland.
#16 - Impossible Bridges: Denmark to Sweden
Season 2006 - Episode 2
The Oresund, spanning 10 miles in length, is the longest bridge in the world. The bridge links countries Denmark and Sweden, and Megastructures chronicles the history in it's design and construction.
#17 - Inside NCIS
Season 2006 - Episode 5
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is the United States Department of the Navy's primary law enforcement agency. Let Megastructures give you a first hand tour!
#18 - Machines of War: Missiles
Season 2006 - Episode 10
Track the flight of a Tomahawk cruise missile from launch to target and discover the technology that makes the missile the ultimate surgical attack weapon.
#19 - Icelandic Super Dam
Season 2008 - Episode 10
This episode looks at the Karahnjukar Hydroelectric Project in Iceland - an audacious engineering feat that includes the building of Europe's highest dam, the drilling of 30-mile-long tunnels and the construction of a gigantic underground power plant.
#20 - Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge
Season 2011 - Episode 10
To save one of the most iconic engineering wonders of all time requires the creation of another masterpiece: the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge.
#21 - Spaceport America
Season 2011 - Episode 9
Time was, if you wanted to leave earth, you needed a government ride. But in the very desert that helped give birth to the Space Age, Spaceport America will rise. The space version of an airport, it's a revolution in travel, with a revolutionary design to match. Yet the spaceport faces a world of hurdles. "Probably the most complicated project I've ever been on," says an engineer. The site sits in the middle of nowhere: no roads, no water, no power. And the spaceport won't be built unless a rancher controlling the land for a runway changes her mind.
#22 - Dubai's Dream Palace
Season 2007 - Episode 5
Megastructures heads to the tiny desert kingdom of Dubai to explore the remarkable engineering behind the seven-star Burj Al-Arab Hotel. Five years in the making, this striking building stands like a gigantic white sail off the shore of Dubai. As this programme reveals, a refusal to compromise on the part of the hotel’s young designers ensured that the project pushed the boundaries of design. The Burj Al-Arab was envisaged by Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as a means of diversifying the country’s economy away from oil into tourism. The Sheikh dreamt of a luxury hotel that would put Dubai on the world map, and surprised many by choosing a relatively inexperienced British firm to supply the design.
#23 - Power Tower
Season 2008 - Episode 16
Witness the Bahrain World Trade Center. Two 50-story glass "sails" rise over 240 meters into the sky along the shores of the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. This unique architectural marvel is powered in part by a revolutionary new means for a building this size - wind. It's the world's first large-scale integration of wind turbines into a skyscraper. Three massive turbines will supply clean power to the buildings. In this hour, we explore the science behind the concept and discover how engineers and construction crews attempt to tackle this audacious project. In an oil-rich region of the world, the team transforms the vision to reality and looks to the future, committed to a renewable energy source of mega proportions.
#24 - Inside Grand Central
Season 2005 - Episode 25
Grand Central Terminal (GCT; also referred to as Grand Central Station or simply as Grand Central) is a commuter and intercity railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States. The terminal serves commuters traveling on the Metro-North Railroad to Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties in New York, as well as to Fairfield and New Haven counties in Connecticut. The terminal also contains a connection to the New York City Subway at Grand Central–42nd Street. Grand Central Terminal has intricate designs both on its inside and outside, lending to its landmark designations, including as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. The terminal is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, with 21.9 million visitors in 2013.
#25 - Sea Launch
Season 2005 - Episode 9
A satellite delivered by a rocket that is launched from the earth’s equator instead of any other place, can have its lifespan extended for as much as 3 years. This would mean huge savings for the companies that own these satellites. Thus the Sea Launch was constructed. The Sea Launch is made up of 2 megastructures, a floating launch pad called the Odyssey and a shipping vessel called the Commander. The episode gives a brief history of the construction, the successes and the failures of the Sea Launch.