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135 Shuttle Launches
July 7, 2012 3:44 PM   Subscribe

The Shuttle Launches, all 135 of them, playing simultaneously. Edited by McLean Fahnestock. If you're looking for the Challenger video, it is in the second row from the top, the 6th frame from the right.
posted by HuronBob (32 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
If you're looking for the Challenger video, it is in the second row from the top, the 6th frame from the right.

I wonder town many times I've watched those people die. It's moving even as a thumbnail.

What amazes me is how each one of these seems the same. So many launches. Most textbook.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:54 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I went to SpaceCamp as a youngster - we witnessed a Delta launch at night. A column of smoke, a pillar of fire.

Wired: NASA’s New (Astronaut-Carrying) Spacecraft Is Retro-Modern.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:57 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The gallery I teach through included this in an exhibition last year centered around the theme of Space and Earth, running it on a continuos loop in the video projection room. It was a lot more effective at that scale, as you can imagine but I'm glad it's available online for a wider audience.
posted by stagewhisper at 3:58 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only 135 launches over several decades.

And people were saying that space travel was "routine".
posted by hippybear at 4:04 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


What a fantastic noise!
posted by merocet at 4:14 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm picky, but the fact that they're not all synchronized even within a second of each other (and it's actually not hard to get within a couple frames with these) really bothers me. Why is liftoff so scattered among them? For the trouble he took in *almost* syncronizing them, it confuses me that he didn't go all the way.
posted by chimaera at 4:17 PM on July 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Why is liftoff so scattered among them?" I suspect that this is a factor of temperature, weather, shuttle weight (they don't all weigh the same at liftoff, depending on the payload), and other factors.
posted by HuronBob at 4:22 PM on July 7, 2012


I think it's because if 135 space shuttles all took off at once, it might knock the Earth out of orbit.

Wait, what?
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's actually just one shuttle that projects across 135 dimensions of spacetime, and now we finally get to see the whole launch.
posted by scrowdid at 4:39 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Time lapse video of prepping the STS-131 for launch.

Despite all the problems with the Shuttle, it's impressive to remember that 125+ tons (which was mostly the orbiter itself) were hauled 200 miles in about nine minutes.

Humanity has its awful moments, but damn we make some impressive machines at times.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:41 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I suspect that this is a factor of temperature, weather, shuttle weight (they don't all weigh the same at liftoff, depending on the payload), and other factors.

I'm not talking about variations between scheduled and actual liftoff time, or variations in speed after liftoff. I mean that there's no reason that the physical liftoff of the vehicle from the launch pad is the very thing you WANT to have perfectly syncronized if you're syncronizing video....
posted by chimaera at 4:46 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Humanity has its awful moments, but damn we make some impressive machines at times

Yeah! Like tanks!
posted by item at 4:47 PM on July 7, 2012


Your welcome
posted by nathancaswell at 5:01 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like fish, but Aquarium tanks aren't that impressive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 PM on July 7, 2012


(that joke was stolen from Duck Soup)
posted by nathancaswell at 5:02 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"there's no reason that the physical liftoff of the vehicle from the launch pad is the very thing you WANT to have perfectly syncronized"

I think you could sync ignition, or you could sync the instant the vehicle lost contact with the ground, but beyond that, all the rest of the variables set in and the time from lost contact with the ground to, for instance, ten feet in the air probably varies significantly. The appearance of different "lift offs", if you watch carefully, seems to be due to differences in camera angles. And, if you listen, you can hear the countdowns seem to be in sync.
posted by HuronBob at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2012


There was one specific variation in the launch sequence and that was for STS-1. SRB ignition occurred after T-0 and for STS-2 forward the clock was adjusted such that T-0 was SRB ignition.

From what I recall reading years ago a lot of this timing was due to the unknown amount of "twang" that the stack exhibits following SSME ignition. Once the main engines start their thrust pushes the stack forward and back a few inches and the SRBs are not signaled to ignite until the entire stack is back in the fully upright position.
posted by tgrundke at 5:20 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hypnotizing. All that SSB chatter is a little like background noise in some downtempo dub remix.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:22 PM on July 7, 2012


I'd like to see all 135 launches super imposed all together into single pile of launch.
posted by notyou at 5:34 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


That was fantastic, it's amazing the emotional response you get watching this.
posted by arcticseal at 5:35 PM on July 7, 2012


This reminds me of the recent YouTube video of all original series Star Trek episodes played simultaneously. It was mesmerizing.

"Was" because it's gone now. :-(
posted by tcv at 5:49 PM on July 7, 2012


The unsynced launches were a missed opportunity. It would have been so cool to hear all the countdowns superimposed, with echoes and reverb between them...TEN. NINE. &c
posted by sixswitch at 5:55 PM on July 7, 2012


.......
.......
posted by jcreigh at 6:16 PM on July 7, 2012


hippybear: "I think it's because if 135 space shuttles all took off at once, it might knock the Earth out of orbit."

Welcome to you're "DOOM!"
posted by that's how you get ants at 6:30 PM on July 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's very, very beautiful as is, kinda pop-art meet #newaesthtetic.

(I don't agree with the sound editing choice of the Challenger ending: Challenger was not the last one and the history of shuttle flights is mostly a formidable success. If this video was looping on my video wall, I would change the sound track at the end.)
posted by bru at 6:55 PM on July 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


arcticseal: That was fantastic, it's amazing the emotional response you get watching this.

Oh man, you have no idea!

I grew up on the central-Florida east coast, watched the Apollo 11 Moon landing happening live on TV, and even lived in the area of Cape Canaveral for the last few Apollo missions, watching the impressive Saturn V launches and hearing the almighty roar of their engines. My otherwise unremarkable childhood was defined by being so near such mind-bogglingly amazing accomplishments. I made a special trip home from college to witness the very first ever shuttle launch, from a relatively close press-pass location (~2 miles away from the launchpad) - extending my trip at all costs, not willing to miss the first launch after the initial attempt was scrubbed.

I have no words to describe the thrill of watching capital-H History being made - seeing the shuttle itself in the distance already squatting enormous on the horizon, that being utterly dwarfed by the stupendous gouts of white smoke suddenly spouting from it, then the inverted Roman candle rising and accelerating along its course...followed by the indescribably intense thundering throb of the take-off vibrating through me a few seconds later. Holy shit I was right there, man! In my excitement I took at least two dozen shots that I knew would be the pictures of a lifetime, to view over and over again in the decades to follow and wonder anew at the heights of human achievement.

Only to find out after the fact that I'd botched loading the roll of film thus having nothing to show for my trouble.

Nevertheless, 30 years later I can easily recall the anticipation, the thrill of knowing I was watching something momentous, the body-shaking rumble, and the undimmed fascination with which I followed the rest of the Shuttle launches even after I'd moved away from the area. I flashed on that all that again as I watched the World Trade Center towers collapse, and fucking cried as I pondered both the heights and the depths that we humans are capable of.

If I'm still alive and mobile for the first civilian flight to space, damn straight I'm signing the hell up!
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:50 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I thought this would only show the first 10, 20 or 30 seconds after liftoff, so I was going to chide you for telling me which one was Challenger. I didn't want to know,. But now I'm morbidly wondering which was Columbia's last flight too. (RIP to the crews of 51-L and 107.)

My favorite vids remain those cockpit camera views that have surfaced on YT showing nervous/ excited crews. (Rex Walheim looked like he was on the Best. Amusement Park Ride. Ever.)
posted by NorthernLite at 7:52 PM on July 7, 2012


I thought this would only show the first 10, 20 or 30 seconds after liftoff

In the early 1980's I was a diehard space fan and watched every single launch on TV. Well, when I could and when they were televised. By launch #25, the TV networks (remember "networks"?) wouldn't cut in with coverage anymore and you would be lucky to catch it on the radio. So there I was, late that Tuesday morning, spinning across the AM radio dial just a minute or so before the scheduled liftoff, trying to find a station that was airing it. I finally found one, and listened to the launch through to the +60 second point, when the station went back to regular programming. I switched off the radio, grabbed my bookbag and headed to class (college).

I'm morbidly wondering which was Columbia's last flight too. (RIP to the crews of 51-L and 107.)

The thumbnails are in order. STS-107 is in the second to last row, second from left.

My favorite vids remain those cockpit camera views that have surfaced on YT showing nervous/ excited crews. (Rex Walheim looked like he was on the Best. Amusement Park Ride. Ever.)

I know exactly the video you speak of. Rex is sitting in the 2nd row center seat, grabbing the two seats in front of him, grinning from ear to ear like a schoolboy. And Rex has the high voice to match that :) Leland Melvin is seated to his right, and you can see him grinning too -- his first flight, can you imagine?

FYI, that video and many others (including an hour-long entry video) are available at www.nasaspaceflight.com, if you subscribe and get behind their "L2" paywall. Raw video, often in high def. You can often find them on Youtube, but not reliably and rarely at high quality. NSF is one of the few sites online that I subscribe to. Come to think of it, it's the only site. Well, besides the $5 I spent here eons ago.

God, watching that video, I miss the excitement of those countdowns (and launches) every couple months. Starting in 2002, I started being able to watch these at work, which meant I didn't miss a single launch (or landing) for the last 9 years of the program. I was watching live during the Columbia landing ...
posted by intermod at 9:13 PM on July 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Great video, intermod. But...Poindexter? Tee hee. I love it. =)
posted by lazaruslong at 10:16 PM on July 7, 2012


how do they put them all together ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:16 AM on July 8, 2012


From what I recall reading years ago a lot of this timing was due to the unknown amount of "twang" that the stack exhibits following SSME ignition. Once the main engines start their thrust pushes the stack forward and back a few inches and the SRBs are not signaled to ignite until the entire stack is back in the fully upright position.

The twang is perceptible—nearly 1.5 million pounds of thrust exerted against the launch stack, held back by a few bolts rolls the stack 18 inches forward until it settles back—and relatively predictable; this is why SSME ignition is at T-6.6 seconds, along with the fact that it allows them to confirm all three engines are ignited without any problems. (There was a "Redundant Set Launch Sequencer Abort" 5 times, wherein either one of the engines failed to ignite, or the computer detected a value out of spec: pretty much the ultimate blue balls of spaceflight, aside from Apollo 13.) I wrote a bit about RSLSA's and the twang in this post.

Watching STS-134 live from the press site was one of the greatest moments of my life. It's unlike anything you can imagine: at once breathtaking, brilliant, thunderous, and terrifying.
posted by disillusioned at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2012


Watching STS-134 live from the press site was one of the greatest moments of my life. ...
posted by disillusioned

What's the opposite of "eponysterical"?
:)
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:10 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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