Human Guinea Pigs
Witness the bravery and endurance of Air Force pilots in the 1950s as the U.S. military was testing its first fleet of high-altitude jet engines.
S01:E01 - The Human Rock
In the 1950s, jet engines took flight to the limits of the upper atmosphere – but the problems were many. No one knew if a pilot could survive emergencies at these extreme altitudes. Witness all the incredible human testing performed by the military to develop high-altitude escape systems. See the amazing 14-mile drop of a man through the sound barrier with just a thermal suit and a parachute.
S01:E02 - Beyond Human Tolerance
As pilots fly, they’re subjected to the strenuous laws of physics. But little was known about adapting the human body to these extremes in the early years of flight. The answers came from subjecting animals and humans to violent impacts, sudden decompressions, extremes of heat, cold and radiation, and more. Includes rare archival footage showing the results of far-ranging animal and human tests.
S01:E03 - The Human Bullet
Ejecting from a supersonic airplane is like hitting a brick wall at 600 miles per hour. How could a pilot survive? The answer came from a series of stunning human tests in rocket-powered sleds, resulting in the historic 82G impact. This is the story of G-forces and the human tests that made sudden acceleration and deceleration survivable. Includes rare, original narration and declassified footage.
S01:E04 - Nuclear Effects
Human military testing in the past is a fact. With the power of the atomic bomb, military planners knew it was, after all, just another weapon. But how did you convince troops that they could actually survive a nuclear attack without any effects? The answer came from a series of tests that actually put soldiers at ground zero and exposed to radioactivity. See the results in this revealing program.