As “MegaWorld: France” begins, join the French Navy's specialized dive team on a two-day training mission in extreme conditions. This elite crew is the go-to team when an airplane goes down and its black box needs to be recovered from the bottom of the ocean, or when a submarine crew is trapped and needs oxygen delivered to them. Other sea-worthy innovations featured in the special include a look at Infremer, the leading French institute for underwater research. There is a fear that the Alps are slipping into the Mediterranean ocean, posing the very real threat of a tsunami. Follow scientists from Infremer as they monitor the underwater base of these mountains to track that possibility.
“MegaWorld: France” takes flight with a look at some of the incredible commercial aviation and space technologies developing in France. This special explores the revolutionary new Airbus – the largest passenger plane in the world – and how something so extraordinarily large actually works. The heart of a plane is called a wingbox and to make one this size, the Airbus engineers had to think out of the box – go behind the scenes to see how this mammoth comes together. Also, explore the NH90 Eurocopter, the world's first fly-by-wire helicopter. Made by one of the world’s best helicopter companies, this bird is an engineering marvel – simply push a button and its smart computers take over! But for something truly out of this world, meet the engineers working on the Ariane 5, the strongest rocket on the planet and capable of lifting payloads such as satellites into space. Their biggest construction challenge? Ensuring that the rocket can withstand the enormous heat and pressure of blasting into orbit. Watch as the engineers build and fire an Ariane 5 off the launch pad in French Guyana.