Want to Know What It’s Like to be a Solid Rocket Booster? (Video)

Article written: 25 Mar , 2009
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This video is incredible, almost like something from a sci-fi movie – and the sound is unbelievable! But this is the real deal. NASA mounts cameras on the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), enabling those of us who are Earth-bound to ride along (and for NASA engineers to have a first-hand look at what is going on, too – the real reason for these cameras). In the first part of the video, you see the SRB separation and the shuttle pulling away, which is just magnificent! Plus, you ride along the whole way back to Earth until the parachutes deploy on the SRBs and you splash down in the ocean. The second part, you ride the along for the launch. You get a bird’s eye view (or is that a BAT’s eye view?!) of when the water suppression system starts, the SRBs light, the main engines start, and then you’re hauling the mail. Its great fun and way, way cool:


13 Responses

  1. Jon Hanford says

    Thanks for posting the booster video. These booster engine views along with the RPM maneuver and the shuttle flyaround after undocking are my favorite video moments of all shuttle missions (besides liftoff, docking, spacewalks & landing of course!). What a view from the SRBs!

  2. Jon Hanford says

    Does NASA post these SRB videos somewhere on its’ immense site and where can I find them?

  3. Trippy says

    John:
    I don’t know if there’s an accessable video database per se, but there is a NASATv YouTube account where many of these get uploaded to.

  4. rui borges says

    What impresses me the most is not the sound…is the lack of it in between… 😉

  5. robbiNewman says

    Love the soundtrack…similar to the titan probe descent module….strangely hypnotic.
    I wonder why they didnt edit the clip so the halves were reversed…launch then booster descent, as it should be.
    My other thought is…there HAS to be an easier way to get into space without all that energy wasted. How are coming along with anti gravity systems?..its the obvious answer.

  6. Dave Finton says

    robbi: No, anti-gravity is still the realm of science fiction. There are noble attempts out there to simulate it, but truth be told even if it did exist, the energy requirements would still be equivalent. Potential energy is real, and overcoming that requires a certain amount of push no matter what technology you use. So whether you use chemical, nuclear, or hypothetical technology to get yourself into escape velocity, it’s still going to require the same amount of energy into orbit.

  7. NoAstronomer says

    Another quick question: Are these videos sent live to NASA during launch or are they recorded in devices in the SRB which are then recovered after splash-down?

  8. GrumpyGator says

    Wow!! Stanley Kubrick returns! Just like the Jupiter sequence in 2001 A Space Odyssey. The sound is incredible and full screen high def. even! Too bad the poor little bat didn’t live to see it.

  9. Jon Hanford says

    @ Trippy Thanks for the heads-up on NASA videos on YouTube. I found a treasure trove of SRB videos there. @ NoAstronomer: the SRB videos are indeed recorded in-flight and retrieved a few days later with the solid rocket boosters . I think a total of about 6 cameras (3 per SRB) are employed by shuttle flight engineers to help monitor the shuttle underside and booster performance on the ride into orbit (and providing unique views of the vehicle in ascent for space enthusiasts everywhere!).

  10. ND says

    One of the best videos I’ve seen is from a camera near the bottom of the SRB looking back up. As they seperate you can see the shuttle’s engine and the bottom of the fuel tank as the shuttle continues on to orbit.

  11. Doug Jones says

    Fascinating. You can see the smoke trail from the other SRB, showing the trajectory topping out, then falling downward… the other SRB is so brightly illuminated in the last bit of sunlight that it washes out the camera.

    At 3:29 the residual flames from other SRB can be seen flicking and flashing as they fall toward the ocean… the relative movement at 3:31 to 3:39 is caused by the varying lift and drag of the tumbling cylinders- impressive accelerations!

    At 3:50 the camera gets a glimpse back to the west, with the _ascent_ smoke trail silhouetted against the glare of the sunset.

    At 3:58, the camera is repositioned to look upwards and record the parachute deployment.

    Okay, break’s over, back on my head!

  12. Slugsie says

    Amazing videos. It’d be nice if there was some annotation as to what exactly you’re seeing at different points (thanks Doug Jones for the commentary).

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