Radiolab

Navigate
Return Home

What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down

Monday, July 29, 2013 - 12:35 PM

If I say "meet me 28 miles from here," that doesn't seem very far, right? You could take a taxi, a bus; if pushed you might even make it on a bike.

But what if the 28 miles is not on a road or a highway, but straight up, 150,000 feet — that's high. So high, we're out of the life zone. Up in the silence.

This video, created by NASA and sound designed by the amazing folks at Skywalker Sound, lets you rise those 150,000 feet on a solid rocket booster, and then, after helping the space shuttle shoot into orbit, you (and the booster) tumble straight back to Earth.

It's about two minutes up, then four minutes down, starting in lazy loops through the empty (except for the metal groaning) upper atmosphere; then the Earth's surface swings with the arc of our fall, the atmosphere thickens, you hear wind, see inky, smoky moments, bursts of flame, winds start whistling by, groaning gets louder, clouds appear below like distant pillows, which we swoosh through and, after ejecting something, there's a snap, parachutes suddenly appear and we drop, then splash into, under and out of the sea, only to watch something else toppling out of the sky nearby.

I've seen rocket launchings before, but this is special. It's the sound, I guess. Everything is so much more vivid. Clearly, the best way to fall from the sky is to do it with ears wide open.

YouTube

Tags:

More in:

Comments [2]

Bob Gustavson from California

Is that the ascent vapor trail inthe background at about the 5:06 mark?

Aug. 29 2013 12:58 AM
Andrew D from canada

there was a guy who sent his Iphone into space a while back you guys should check that out

Aug. 18 2013 10:43 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Supported by

Feeds