Space buffs, get ready to blast off! NASA is currently uploading hundreds of stunning archival films to YouTube.
Recovered from the archives of NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) in Edwards, California, the footage covers decades of pivotal research and development undertaken by the agency and Air Force. Among the short clips is footage of space shuttle landing research, tests on the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, and flights of the first supersonic aircraft, Motherboard reports.
To be sure, this footage has long been available to the public but viewing it meant you had to know it existed and know where to find it. The footage was relatively hidden in the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection, which could be accessed through the Dryden Flight Research Center website.
But, thanks to the AFRC social media specialists, the 500 or so videos are migrating to a YouTube channel. Around 300 have already been uploaded.
“NASA has so much digital content that tends to be overlooked by the public, given the difficulty that exists in actually locating the content,” Rebecca Richardson, social media manager for NASA Armstrong, told Motherboard. “Our hope is that by moving the content to more accessible platforms, NASA fans and media personnel will be able to access the content more regularly and become more fully immersed in what is happening at NASA.”
The films are brief — usually under two minutes — but cover an impressive range of missions. Some are serene, like the early morning takeoff of a space shuttle. Others are intense, like the first launch of the Hyper-X aircraft. Some are even kind of funny, like the clip of the “flying bathtub” and the training exercise that shows crew member being chucked backward out of a shuttle.
Here are a couple videos to wet your whistle.
In this quick clip, NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft carries the space shuttle Atlantis during an early-morning takeoff at Edward Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. Atlantis was to be returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after a 140-day mission to the International Space Station.
Emergency rescue missions are never funny but training exercises sure can be, especially when they involve hiking astronauts down a slide. Here a crew is “rescued” from a space shuttle during a training exercise at Edwards Air Force Base.