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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Weekend Special: What It's Like To Soar Into Space, Then Crash To Earth

•, by Robert Krulwich


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be hurled into the sky, straight up, past the clouds, into starry space, the Earth all blue and turning spherical below, everything silent, tomblike, and then, just like that — you slip and start to fall? What would it sound like? Look like?

As you drop, you wobble, twist, turn, tumble, when you hit the atmosphere, you feel the air, it heats you, steams you, there's the whistle of it, then the roar; you are dropping helplessly toward the clouds below, then, whoosh! Four parachutes open above you and you sail down to the sea.


Well, this video shows all that. And it's totally real. (Well, almost totally. What you see actually happened. It's NASA footage, but the sound is "designed" by the extraordinary folks at Skywalker Sound, so reality has been enhanced, but so subtly I can't tell you how.)

Plus there's this crazy bonus. The main character in this video is a booster rocket, a cylinder of fuel.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Courtney Jalospanis
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I am sure Gammill enjoys the SOUND of the crash, more than anything else. The sound of destruction always lights up the burning souls of very angry men.

Comment by Powell Gammill
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I would recommend going to the youtube site, bumping up the resolution to 720p high def, go full screen, crank up the volume and brightness and kick back for a hell of a ride.  

Things of note:  Note in MANY background scenes you can still see the launch trajectory (exhaust plume all the way back to Cape Canaveral.  You can see the other booster in the distance.  Re-entry is not as violent as you might expect because they actually don't reach space (arbitrarily defined as 62 miles up) when the boosters separate at 41 miles up.  But it is still pretty cool to see both re-entry on the booster and its twin in the distance.  Note for all you multi-millionaires out there; SpaceShipTwo does go above the 62 mile limit ... astronauts!

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