Watching space exploration is stunning. But hearing it is essential, too – and if you haven’t yet, you really want to hear the Falcon Heavy launch like this.
The Sound Traveler is a YouTube channel that offers “3D” sound experiences using binaural recording, a recording technique that more closely captures sound the way it would enter your head. (The technique is far from perfect, because head and ear shapes are different, but it at least records some of the way sound naturally reaches your inner ears.)
And, lucky them, they got to the top of Cape Canaveral’s Vehicle Assembly Building, where the Space Shuttle tiles were applied and the Apollo rockets were prepped, to hear the Falcon Heavy launch. That’s a rocket the size of which this launchpad hasn’t seen in some years – so you can bet it made a heck of a noise.
Even if you have seen the video before, they’ve posted an extended cut:
The sound is terrific – not only of the launch itself, but the ambient sounds that put you in the experience of being there. I do hope that this inspires space program PR to allow other, more sophisticated recordings – yes, I’m packed up and ready to go to Baikonur Cosmodrome whenever you call, Soyuz.
Because space programs operate with public support, this sort of communication is important. It also inspires much-needed future scientists and engineers. So it’s not just about corporate PR.
And it certainly reveals something about the nature of sound. I got the chance to tour the European Space Agency’s facility for testing vibrations produced by sound, so a sound system capable of reproducing the mighty noise you hear here (only at the equivalent distance of being strapped to the rocket). Here it’s nice to hear that at a safe distance, in real life.
There’s that clip again, just so I can reminisce about when I had a beard and … when I maybe should have practiced a bit more on Push.
Here’s to more sounds of space exploration.
Photo: SpaceX / public domain.