Last November, I went armed with some LOM label microphones to the Netherlands to find out what sounds you could discover in a space research facility. That exploration produced a lot of sounds, and one way to play with them was to transform them into percussion. Now you can download the drum kit I made for your own use, or to create your own instruments.


The recordings all come from the European Space Agency’s European Space Research and Technology Centre. This is the sprawling facility on the coast of the Netherlands where most of the satellites and spacecraft ESA launches are tested (along with the materials testing and other research that supports them).

There’s shakers made from the sound of gravel crunching under the wheels of a prototype Mars rover, the bass drum made from a giant sound system that can produce the volume of noise a rocket launch wood, the pop of a nitrogen valve inside a materials test facility, and more. In Live, I added some effects you can tweak via macros. Of course, maybe you can do better – that’s great. These are Creative Commons licensed, so with the proper credits, you can make your own kits from the samples here or the original recordings and send them our way.

For now, grab the downloads:

Download uncompressed 16-bit/44.1kHz audio files for use anywhere

Download an Ableton Live set and Drum Rack for Live 9.5 or later

Download a Group for Native Instruments Maschine

Also, if you have a copy of Modstep for iOS, my same kit is in there as ESTECDRUMS.

Check out our full story of where these sounds come from and what they tell us about the process of preparing spacecraft and satellites for the trip into space.

Credit: Peter Kirn/CDM/ESA CC BY-SA.