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Shuttle Launch Video Shows NASA Space Shuttle In High Definition (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/18/2012 10:41 am Updated: 03/18/2012 7:18 pm

What’s it like to hitch a ride on a rocket? AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWSOME. At least that’s what one commenter wrote after viewing a dramatic new video of a space shuttle launch shot by cameras mounted on the solid rocket boosters (SRBs) that helped propel NASA's now-retired shuttles off the launch pad and into space.

The dramatic high-definition video begins seconds before launch and ends about eight minutes later, when the spent boosters parachute into the ocean.

Visually stunning, the video is like no other launch video you’ve ever seen. But what makes the video even more special is that its audio track captures the surprising variety of sounds of a shuttle launch, including the sputtering roar of the rocket motors, the explosive blasts as the boosters separate from the shuttle, and the eerie clangs and whistles the boosters make as they spiral earthward.

The video was assembled for inclusion in a special edition of a DVD/BluRay entitled "Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle," according to a NASA Facebook page. It contains footage taken on two shuttle flights, STS-117 (June 2007) and STS-127 (July 2009), according to the video's closing credits. The credits also indicate that the video's soundtrack was enhanced by the folks at Skywalker Sound, the Marin County, California firm whose film credits range from "Star Wars" in 1977 to 2012’s "Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax."

And if the the launch looks and sounds incredible, the boosters themselves—the largest solid propellant motors ever developed for space flight--were pretty incredible too. NASA says each booster contained more than a million pounds of propellant—all of which was expended in the first two minutes of a shuttle’s launch.

GALLERY: WHAT THE EARTH LOOKS LIKE FROM SPACE
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  • Sandy Cay

    This astronaut photograph taken on Nov. 27, 2010, provides a view of tidal flats and channels near Sandy Cay, on the western side of Long Island, and along the eastern margin of the Great Bahama Bank, on the islands of Bahamas. The continuously exposed parts of the island are brown, a result of soil formation and vegetation growth. To the north of Sandy Cay, an off-white tidal flat composed of carbonate sediments is visible; light blue-green regions indicate shallow water on the tidal flat.

  • Lake Nasser

    Egypt's Lake Nasser was photographed in January 2005 from the International Space Station.

  • Sahara Desert

    Tassili n'Ajjer National Park, part of the Sahara Desert, has a bone-dry climate with scant rainfall, yet it doesn't blend in with Saharan dunes. Instead, the rocky plateau rises above the surrounding sand seas. This image from 2000 was made from multiple observations by the Landsat 7 satellite, using a combination of infrared, near-infrared and visible light to better distinguish among the park's various rock types.

  • Hydrogen Sulfide and Dust Plumes on Namibia's Coast

    Cloudless skies allowed a clear view of dust and hydrogen sulfide plumes along the coast of Namibia in early August 2010. Multiple dust plumes blow off the coast toward the ocean, most or all of them probably arising from stream beds. Unlike the reddish-tan sands comprising the dunes directly south of the Kuiseb River, the stream-channel sediments are lighter in color. Wind frequently pushes dust plumes seaward along the Namibian coast.

  • Egypt

    The Nile River and its delta look like a brilliant, long-stemmed flower in this astronaut photograph of the southeastern Mediterranean Sea, as seen from the International Space Station on Oct. 28, 2010. The Cairo metropolitan area forms a particularly bright base of the flower.

  • Islands of Four Mountains

    The snow-capped volcanoes composing the Islands of the Four Mountains in Alaska's Aleutian Island chain look suspiciously like alien worlds in this August 2010 image from the ASTER camera aboard NASA's orbiting Terra satellite.

  • Aurora Australis

    This NASA image shows the aurora australis observed from the International Space Station on May 29, 2010. This aurora image was taken during a geomagnetic storm that was most likely caused by a coronal mass ejection from the sun on May 24.

  • Sarychev Volcano

    Astronauts at the International Space Station captured this striking view of the Sarychev volcano on Russia's Kuril Islands in an early stage of eruption on June 12, 2009. Sarychev Peak is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kuril Islands chain.

  • Arctic Eclipse

    NASA's Terra satellite was rounding the top of the globe -- making its way from the eastern tip of Siberia and across the Arctic Ocean toward northwest Russia -- when it captured this unique view of a total solar eclipse on Aug. 1, 2008. In the area shown in the image, the sun was obscured for about two minutes. As Earth rotated, the shadow moved southeast across the surface. At the same time, the satellite crossed the Arctic with its path nearly perpendicular to the eclipse.

  • Fargo

    The Advanced Land Imager on NASA's Earth Observing-1 satellite shows a snowy blanket over Fargo, N.D., on Dec. 12.

  • Mount Everest

    Astronauts captured this image highlighting the northern entry to Mount Everest from Tibet on Jan. 6. Climbers travel along the East Rongbuk Glacier, shown on the lower left, to camp at the base of Changtse mountain.

  • Island Beauty

    The south end of Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas shimmers in turquoise waters in this 2002 photo from the International Space Station.

  • Massive Sandstorm

    A massive sandstorm sweeps over Qatar as it races south toward southeastern Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Feb. 15, 2004. A major upper-level, low-pressure system over southwestern Asia led to a series of storms sweeping through the area. The crew of the International Space Station captured this image with a digital camera using a 50-millimeter lens.

  • Lake Naivasha, Kenya

    Flowers grow year round in sun-drenched Kenya, and nowhere are they more plentiful than Lake Naivasha, shown here. In this view from space, bright white squares mix with fields of green, tan and purple along the shores of the lake. Sunlight glints off the long rows of glass greenhouses, turning them silvery blue and white. Fallow fields are tan and pink, while growing plants turn the ground bright green. Roses, lilies and carnations are the most common flowers grown in the greenhouses and fields scattered around the lake.

  • Cumulonimbus Cloud Over Africa

    High above the African continent, tall, dense cumulonimbus clouds, meaning "cloud heap" in Latin, are the result of atmospheric instability. The clouds can form alone, in clusters or along a cold front in a squall line. The high energy of these storms is associated with heavy precipitation, lightning, high wind speeds and tornadoes. <em>Correction: A previous version of this slide offered an inaccurate translation of "cumulonimbus."</em>

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