First of all, let me explain that I am totally blind, and audio is my primary source of information. Through soundscapes, I can hear how big or small a room is, and make pictorial and spatial images about the room based on its ambiance. I have recorded myself embarking and disembarking a few planes, and I'm sure there are many recordings posted on the web where people have gone and recorded their flights. My question is, why are there so few recordings of space capsules and space shuttles taken within the inside of the vehicle, and not outside? I have but found one in which you can hear what it sounds like when the engines ignite, when the SRB's are jettisoned, when a checklist is torn away from the velcro due to excessive G, and when the external tank is blown away. Why, there are some audio recordings in which a microphone was placed inside the SRB, so you can hear the hollow sound of the metal as the wind passes through it. However, I haven't been able to find any recordings of what it sounds like when the space shuttle or capsule re-enters the atmosphere, and more importantly, what it sounds like when it hits the ground and rolls down the runway for shuttles, or when the hatch is opened for capsules. Here's a few YouTube videos I found.

In this next video, you can hear the humming of some circulation fans, and then you hear a rumbling sound. From the way things are moving inside, it sounds as though the space is that of a minivan cabin.
This was uploaded by ESA. If you listen through the video, there are about four seconds of actual audio in which the microphone was jerked around a bit, or when the parachutes opened.
These last six videos a friend of mine found, relating to STS 134. You can hear when the shuttle docks to the space station because it makes a rumbling sound, like this.

Rum bum bum, rum rum bum bum.


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    $\begingroup$ In this video, after a second 35, you can listen to a very interesting conversation of russian cosmonauts about their profession and life. In Russian, of course. Not sure that english translation exists, but it is really rare possibility to listen private conversation in space youtube.com/watch?v=YFDg8YbVxAU $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ There are several video tours of the ISS, like this one: youtube.com/watch?v=afBm0Dpfj_k Some of these have the astronaut giving the tour talking nonstop, others have brief periods where nobody's talking while the presenter and cameraman move to the next module. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:58
  • $\begingroup$ The ISS has pretty much constant background noise from the fans in the climate control system, so I don't know how useful those tours would be to you. $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Feb 18, 2018 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ This video of a shuttle landing is mostly just crew audio, but somebody went hot mike right before nosegear touchdown, so you can hear that, and the last few seconds of the rollout. youtube.com/watch?v=RP22itxM2Ns $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ I am not interested in private conversations between the ceew. I am simply interested in the sound ambiance inside the space shuttle or space capsule. The cockpit view of the shuttle landing is one I've come across, but I haven't been able to pick out full audio of the shuttle's ambiance it's mostly radio communication. Also, some of these videos have music in them, which makes it difficult to hear the actual sounds made by the machines on board. I'd also like to hear how they board and leave the vehicle, or when they turn on or off the systems. $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 20:44

1 Answer 1


I posted the link below for the original raw audiorecordings from the historic Apollo Eleven mission that include voice, machine noise, and static. There are a lot of files though. I would actually recommend contacting NASA directly to see if they can provide you with a ZIP file or FTP access to get all of the files at once more easily. Every audiorecording ever made by NASA is in the public domain, and they are required by law to make them publicly accessible for persons with disabilities. You can call their public-relations office at +12023580001 to make any inquiries you need for audiorecordings under the Freedom of Information Act.



  • $\begingroup$ Also, if you find yourself in Florida, they actually have a space-shuttle simulator there that you can ride at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. kennedyspacecenter.com/explore-attractions/… $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2018 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ This might be more of a legal question, but I thought FOIA exempted audio recordings from things like cockpit voice recorders? Wouldn't NASA spacecraft and shuttles fall in that category? Is that why you might never hear how the crew reacted to the Challenger and Columbia disaster? Also, does the European Space Agency have a similar FOIA law that I can benefit from? And, like NASA, do they have a public relations line? $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 0:44
  • $\begingroup$ Since space flight is such a major thing, wouldn't astronauts or cosmonauts bring in their own digital recorders for their own personal use? Maybe if they edited them, they might be able to share once all traces of personal information has been removed. That's what I do sometimes, with my recordings. $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ @HeavenlyHarmony Mass budget is a really big deal. Astronauts have very small personal item allowances. I expect recording equipment to mostly be provided by the space agency for official purposes, and don't think many astronauts used their own allowance for such things. $\endgroup$
    – Saiboogu
    Feb 19, 2018 at 2:48
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    $\begingroup$ According to the FOIA Advocates website, you are allowed access to any and all records held by NASA, in all formats, including audio and video recordings. However, as an underfunded public agency, NASA will sometimes delete or overwrite old records. E.g, the original film from Apollo Eleven was actually recorded over at a later date when they ran out of tapes, so the only surviving copies are recordings of the terrestrial rebroadcast. foiadvocates.com/faq.html $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2018 at 9:07

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