Shuttle Launch Captured in Amazing High Def by Cameras on the Rocket Boosters

When the Space Shuttle Atlantis launched on June 8th, 2011 it marked the end of NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. The video above harkens back to that not-so-long-ago era of space shuttles, and gives us an incredible view of a shuttle launch the likes of which we’ve not had the opportunity to share before.

The clip is an extra that will appear on the special edition DVD/Blu-ray of the documentary Ascent: Commemorating Shuttle. Although we’ve shared some spectacular launch videos and photographs in the past, this one takes the cake. It gives us a high-definition ride on a rocket booster up to about 150,000 ft (where they detach), and then back down through the scorching atmosphere.

We get to watch — and, thanks to the folks at Skywalker Sound, hear as well — as the rocket takes off, rolls to achieve max dynamic pressure, breaks the sound barrier around 1:12, and then keeps accelerating into space. All of the sound is real, and was simply mastered by the Skywalker folks to bring it out — nothing fake about it.

The view looking up as the shuttle breaks the sound barrier.

The view looking up as the shuttle breaks the sound barrier.

Once the rocket has reached the appropriate altitude, the boosters and their attached camera equipment are jettisoned, and begin their graceful descent back to Earth.

The boosters ultimately make a not-quite-soft landing in the water, aided by a few parachutes. The video comes to a close as we watch the second booster land some distance away from the first, but thankfully still within the frame.

It really is an amazing video; a rocket booster’s perspective from T-minus 10 seconds all the way to splash down. For those of us who don’t see a SpaceX flight in our future, this camera footage might be the closest we get to a real launch.

(via io9)

  • Richard

    Incredible. The sound makes it.

  • Monteraz

    I dont know what is more awesome, whether the images or the sound.

  • John Mason

    You guys have posted about this before back on March 15, 2012. Do I win a prize?

  • Tyler

    This made my gopro videos seem a whole lot less epic….

  • kendon

    fascinating video. “amazing high def” however gotta be a bad joke. given that the video material was from 2007 and 2009 this seems to be understable though.

  • Andy

    No Star Wars anoraks spotted that Ben Burtt did the sound design? He is The Don!

  • Michael Zhang


    Just kidding. Sorry about that mistake. We’re generally good about not doing that :)

  • MarvinB7

    This has probably been posted before, but it sure is awesome!

  • John Mason

    No problem, it’s certainly a cool video. Probably worth a second post anyway :) I had a serious case of deja vu though when this post came up :)