Alright, everybody stop trying. This is the greatest thing ever shot by a GoPro, and nothing will ever beat it.
While there’s certainly no lack of incredibly cool GoPro footage floating around the Internet, the overwhelming majority of it is crappy montages from your mate’s skiing holiday and shaky, unwatchable videos of drunk battlers at music festivals.
But NASA and GoPro have teamed up to create the best ever use for the indestructible cameras: strapping them to a rocket and blasting them into space.
On November 6 last year, a 20-foot tall SpaceLoft-10 rocket was sent into the great unknown from the New Mexico desert, as part of the fourth mission for NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.
The program’s chooses “promising new space technologies from industry, academia and government, and provides them access to relevant environments for flight testing”.
The suborbital rocket climbs to an altitude of almost 120 kilometers, and reaches a top speed of Mach 5.5 (6791km/hr) – so yeah, the footage is pretty amazing.
What you’re seeing
As soon as the rocket’s launched, it begins a process called ‘spin-stabilisation’, where it spins crazy fast to control attitude and stay on course.
About 90 seconds into the video it releases a 5kg re-entry capsule named Maraia, which enters the Earth’s atmosphere at about 2:40 and then gracefully touches down at the US Army White Sands Missile Range to finish the video.
The launch was a trial to see how well the Maraia capsule would fare, and it did pretty damn well.
Maraia was described by NASA as an “inexpensive, autonomous International Space Station-based vehicle to provide on-demand return of small scientific and engineering payloads.”
But actual rocket science aside, the footage is something to behold.
To be able to experience what it’s like to be launched into space from the rocket’s perspective is breathtaking, and when the rocket floats in space with our tiny blue planet in the background, you’ll be hard pressed not to have some sort of minor existential enlightenment.
It’s also a pretty ringing endorsement for the GoPro Hero 4, which proved that it can literally survive in space.
And yet my iPhone was rendered completely useless after it fell off my desk – go figure.