Can anyone link me to some resources on the background noises heard inside gemini and apollo capsules? Even the LEM is of interest. I'd like to know what the thruster firings sounded like, and if there were any hissing, humming, banging, thermal pops and pings, things like that. Engine firing too, of course, but mostly the ambient sound and the RCS. Was it possible for the astronauts to monitor or diagnose ship activity by ear? Sounds of valves and relays opening and closing, etc

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    $\begingroup$ There were cabin voice recorders in the Aollo missions; I don't know if the audio is generally available. There were complaints about the loudness of the air circulation fans in the Apollo CM and crews left them off as much as possible. Apollo RCS thrusters give a pretty loud, abrupt hiss that likewise tended to interrupt sleep. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Sep 14 '16 at 13:47
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    $\begingroup$ nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/40th/apollo11_audio.html $\endgroup$ – PearsonArtPhoto Sep 14 '16 at 13:50
  • $\begingroup$ I've only skimmed through a few of these recordings so far, but they are pretty noisy and I'm not sure they give a good understanding. Just read some quotes from apollo 9 where the lem pilots couldn't hear the rcs, which is at odds with the above comment. Since the rcs is mechanically connected to the spacecraft I assum it'd be easy to transfer vibration, so I am confused. More comments or answers would be appreciated! $\endgroup$ – Innovine Sep 14 '16 at 14:35
  • $\begingroup$ I am surprised my question didn't get marked as a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – HeavenlyHarmony Mar 10 '18 at 4:53

Here are some of my experiences as a totally blind person. I rely heavily on audio ambiance. Here are some YouTube videos of a Columbia launch inside the orbiter, and a Soyuz ride into Space.


i've also come across some videos of the Endeavour mission posted in 2012, it seems the crew recorded several videos of their docking and disembarkment to the ISS, along with time on board. There is some occasional radio chatter and silence here and there but its mostly the ambient sounds and crew talking to each other, or themselves. These next seven videos I'll try to put in order. Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

Video 4:

Video :

Video 6:

Video 7:

There are a few video's available of space walks as well taken with go pro's, although for obvious reasons they aren't inside the suits themselves. This one has some rather interesting audio though, the sounds of the camera being moved around, and the hum of nearby equipment attached to the ISS, etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Incredible videos, notable for the lack of distracting narration or music. I am particularly struck by the loud noise of the shuttle pushing through the atmosphere at launch, and then how quickly the atmospheric noise fades to nothing. $\endgroup$ – Wayne Conrad Mar 11 '18 at 3:35
  • $\begingroup$ So true, indeed. I didn't realise my question, which I posted three weeks ago was right on the money. I've wanted to know what it sounded like when the shuttle or capsule re-enters the atmosphere and lands, but so far I haven't found anything, just a lot of radio chatter. $\endgroup$ – HeavenlyHarmony Mar 11 '18 at 3:42
  • $\begingroup$ Here's a short sound clip of the ambient noise on the ISS. Recodeing made by Chris Hadfield: soundcloud.com/colchrishadfield/space-station-noise $\endgroup$ – Hobbes May 11 '18 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ Somebody I met on YouTube who is a sound engineer told me that they had a friend who was helping NASA back up their archive. They said that there's only one recording in stereo, taken of STS41. sensation-experience.com/multimedia/space_ride.mp3 $\endgroup$ – HeavenlyHarmony May 14 '18 at 4:09

This is an interesting topic, this isn't quite what you want but its a start. There was an audio tape made from accelerometer recordings on-board the Olympus communications satellite, launched 1989. Of course this doesn't show what it would sound like to be present there in a pressurised cabin.

My memory is that one could hear the wheels running:

  • sounded like the wall of sound one hears in the depths of a ship

and thrusters firing in pulsed mode to off-load momentum built up by the wheels:

  • sounded like a machine gun

I had a quick search just now to see if it had found its way onto the internet but without luck. It seems it can't be beyond the wit of someone to rig something similar up with a modern satellite so perhaps something else will surface.


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