Y'herd thisun? 

“Falcon One is going to be the lowest cost per flight to orbit of any production rocket. Which means we’re cheaper than the Chinese, cheaper than [the] Russians or anywhere else – and we’re doing it in the United States with American labour costs.”
-Elon Musk

Big shuttle boomers!

TaggedSpace, CaliforniaMusings, Families

Today, September 11th 2009, at almost 6 in the afternoon, the Space Shuttle Discovery had to land up at Edwards Air Force Base. Earlier in the day I'd heard a casual mention on the radio that we'd be hearing the dual sonic booms in the LA area at around 5:45... but I had no idea just how loud they would be!

Before heading out to pick up my son at kindergarten I put my two mini recorders on the ledge of my office balcony, just hoping that they might pick up something.

I got to my boy's school and he was outside in the playground with a few friends. I told him that a shuttle was coming down soon and if we were really lucky and left the car windows open on the way home we might hear something. He said, "Why not just wait and listen here?" So we did.

Several minutes passed and since the school is right on a main road with lots of rush hour traffic, I figured we'd missed it and told my son to get his things to go home. He wanted to wait a few minutes more... and just then the air and earth shook with a sharp, cracking BOOOOOOOM!, followed a split second later by another BOOOOOOOM! My son's eyes were wide and I'm sure mine were even wider.


It wasn't just a loud sound, you could actually FEEL them like a punch all over your body at once.

In the playground, the teacher jumped up and said "Wow! I guess you really can hear it from here!" and a toddler had his hands over his ears and was tearing up until I said to him, "That was a rocket ship coming down to Earth from Space!" which made him look at me like I was trying to trick him and he slowly said "reeeeeealy!?"

It was a completely awesome experience.

Ten minutes or so later as we drove up our hill, both 45 year old father and 5 year old son were silently on the edge of our seats listening to the live landing play by play on KNX.

On getting home I was bummed to see that the landscapers were in full swing around the house, with every power tool running at full bore. Ah well, so much for the audio :(. Or so I thought.


When my wife came home I said "Didja hear the Shuttle?" and she told me that she was in a meeting and the whole building shook so they all thought there had been a major accident and rushed to the windows to look around. Seeing nothing amiss on the roads and the WB watertower still standing, someone remembered that it was Shuttle Day and that was the reason for the "quake".

After the family was in bed, I came up to my office and dropped the recorder files into WaveLab and to my great happiness I saw spikes at 24 minutes. Seems that the gods were with me today... the gardeners started doing the loudest work just seconds after event.

I tell you, these things shook the world, it was absolutely awesome. And it is absolutely a shame that very soon the United States won't hear that symbol of power and potential again for a long long time, if ever again.

Click the play links below for streamers, make sure you click the little volume slider on the bottom right of he players all the way up and to hear the major echoes bouncing all over the LA area. (Headphones might be handy if you really want to get it all)

There's an upper-range capturing ws331 version, clearer neighbor child crying out in fear of the booms and a Lower and Mid-range capturing ws500 version, 4 clearer stereo echoes off the San Fernando Valley hills

Click here to play

uppermp3:/shuttle2009/ws331mshuttle.mp3|0|-1 lowmidmp3:/shuttle2009/ws500shuttle.mp3|0|-1 

Robert Smith
Burbank, CA

home     who is smith    contact smith     rss feed π
Since 1997 a place for my stuff, and it if helps you too then all the better