Channel 4 is preparing to boldly go where no television station has gone before after announcing plans to broadcast live from the international space station.

The channel announced that it would air its groundbreaking Live from Space Season in March 2014.

The television event will include a trio of hi-spec shows, presented by Dermot O'Leary, which will give unprecedented access to NASA and get up close and personal with its astronauts. It will culminate in a two-hour live broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS) and Mission Control in Houston as the ISS completes an orbit of the Earth.

David Glover, head of Specialist Factual at Channel 4, said: "The ISS is a incredible example of humans working together. To have been granted this access by NASA to the ISS and Mission Control is a true British TV first. We hope to show what life on board is really like, what happens when things go wrong and then finally giving viewers a live lap of planet Earth."

Dermot O'Leary says: "It's a big deal for me to be asked to host 'Live from Space Season'. When David (Glover) first told me about the show I had to try hard not to revert back to being the eight-year-old kid and the excitement I felt watching the first space shuttle take off in '81. Since then, like most of my Star Wars/Trekkie generation, space has always held a fascination. It's already been an education to research this project and so I can't wait to join the viewers in finding out both the spectacular (and what the astronauts would consider mundane, but most of us will find fascinating) workings of the ISS. I simply can't wait."

Tom Brisley, Creative Director, Arrow Media, who are producing the shows, says: "Live from Space Season takes live event television to a new dimension. Travelling at nearly 300 miles a minute or 17,500 miles per hour, the International Space Station (ISS) makes a complete orbit of the Earth every 90 minutes. In our live two-hour special we will literally take viewers around the world.

"The live visuals, as we look back down to Earth from 250 miles above, will be breathtaking, but these shows will be much more than that. The ISS is the most dangerous place inhabited by mankind, as seen in the fictional Hollywood blockbuster 'Gravity'.

"However the 'Live from Space Season' will reveal the truth of daily life on a space station, as well as showcasing the cutting-edge science that takes place there every day. Arrow Media is delighted to be making such an ambitious live event for both Channel 4 and National Geographic Channel. The scope of the project is unprecedented and pushes boundaries, to expose what has so far been off-limits to the general viewing public, making 'Live from Space Season' a must-see TV event."