Education Fun & Games Science

Matt Melis and Kevin Burke of Cleveland’s NASA Glenn Research Center narrate this remarkable 45-minute video highlights compilation of some 30 high-speed clips recorded by the 125 cameras—most of them film-based—-that documented each space shuttle launch. Most of this footage was recorded for engineering purposes and, as part of an ongoing effort to commemorate the shuttle program, is now being re-cut for public appreciation. Space, engineering, and photography enthusiasts will completely geek out over this video, and anyone with a pair of eyes is certain to at least enjoy it. If you can, you should watch the whole thing. If you don’t have time, you should at least scan forward to 21:00 to watch the super-slow-motion close-range shot, taken from the support structure, of the entire vehicle as it passes by. Also, I’d personally recommend the wide-angle footage at 31:10 for absolute aesthetic beauty, as well as the booster plumes passing in front of the sun at 34:50. [Thanks, Rachel!]

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4 thoughts on “Stunning compilation of high-speed shuttle launch footage

  1. I was only able to scan it, but wow!

    Check out the roll, aerodynamic shock and flames around the external tank at 40:50 to 42:30.

  2. Very nice. Fantastic footage! But for me the Space Shuttle still pales in compassion to the Saturn V. Now that was a machine! I think it would rival the shuttle for the title of most complicated machine ever built too? Especially given the era it was built and the time frame it was done in. I have made one trip to Kennedy Space Center. A life long goal as my father went there in 1971 to see Apollo 15 launch and so I grew up hearing all about it. I missed seeing a lot of the place simply because I was in awe of the Saturn V there and just spent ages looking at it. I’ve seen the Enterprise at the Udvar-Hazy Center and it was nice, but just not the same. I think the Saturn V still reigns as the most awesome of rockets given it’s size, it’s success and it’s importance to human history. If you like the V then I definitely recommend the Mighty Saturns DVD collection. It’s full of footage like this.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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