NASA may not be an agency known for its commitment to aesthetic filmmaking, but they've managed to produce one of the most beautiful clips of footage I've watched in years.

The film below is a space shuttle launch from the perspective of a solid rocket booster, one of the giant white rockets attached to the belly of the shuttle during its ascent. Thanks to a tiny camera and contact microphone attached its frame, you can ride along with it as it sends the shuttle into orbit, then free falls back to earth. There's not much going on visually until the boosters separate at about the two-minute mark--but after that, it's a film even Stanley Kubrick would be proud of.

This clip was shot during STS-124, a mission flown by the shuttle Discovery to deliver a new Japanese module to the International Space Station.

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User Comments:

Fascinating video! This was an absolutely awesome perspective viewpoint! Going to share this one!

The science video that I think is most significant lately is one where a modular robot (CkBot) illustrates the strength of modular system by copying another robot ( PR2 form WillowGarage) this is a important step towards a universal machine.

Mini-PR2 constructed using CkBot modules


For the first time, it felt as though our planet earth was a my baby and I was observing footage of it in a sonogram. How cool is that? Would love to know if anyone else experiences the same thing after this viewing. Stats: SWF with no offspring.

It was also fascinating seeing the changes in the external fuel tank over those two minutes...

@Roberta Page, wanna come over and watch Nova this Sunday?

Wow, some minutes after watching the video I'm still absolutly overwhelmed. I have to admit that I feel a little dizzy too. Imagine if the SRBs would sink to the bottom of the ocean while covering video footage.

The videos which are filmed by a camera at the external tank are also awesome, at least until ET seperation.

That was amazing, even more so David you are absolutely breath taking... seriously.

The SRBs are not attached to the belly of the Shuttle, but to the external tank. That's what killed _Challenger_. Hot gas from a leaking joint impinged directly on the tank, slicing it like a cutting torch.

NASA has similar recordings from many launches. There are cameras all over the outside of the components of the stack. Though this is the best of these I've seen.

This is the most beautiful and thrilling real-life space video ever filmed, with otherwordly sights and sounds. Check out the image at 4:37-4:38, where in a single frame you can see the trails from the launch, the shuttle as it rockets skyward, and the other booster as it falls to earth.

Turn down the volume from this and play this at the same time for the get the full Space Odyssey effect...
Amazing, I have always had a interest in space. with my photography I try to capture the universe also

my photography I try to capture the souls of Pacific Islanders and their pets.

Oh wow, OK looks like that is gonna be fun!


Is there somewhere you can download this in high res?

question for the experts: what's happening to the SRB around the 4:50 minute mark? It seems to hit some serious turbulance and/or crosses the arc of a contrail.

simply amazing footage, thanks a million.

Wow, great sequence. Love how you can hear the fuel draining in space then it's just silence till the atmosphere

sync the release of the tanks when the song says: 'whoa'

wonderful video!

found similar footage with music in youtube (Boards of Canada - Skyliner)

I've never seen anything like it.
The weirdest thing to me was those straight up and down beams of light coming from the sun...

At 4:28 you can see not only the streak of smoke/vapor from the other booster, but the launch plume rising from the cape [hundreds?] of miles away.

Its a horror movie now:

Saturday Morning Science Full Length

Good, but, that Discovery, not Atlantis, Atlantis flight in the STS-125.

Fixed now, good catch.

Hi, all -

thanks for the great videos you've sent! Would love to see more.

I have a question, how the microphone on the camera can record sound in space? I thought that sound can not propagates along vacuum!

Or the part of the explanation referring to "contact microphone" is the key????

Really beautiful video. Enjoyed it very much.

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