How do astronauts react to launch?

Contributed by
Mar 21, 2008

My friend Dan Durda sent me a link to this very cool footage: it's from a dashboard-mounted camera inside the Orbiter Endeavour during the launch last week, taking footage starting a few minutes before launch.

You can see three astronauts in their suits preparing for the mission, and it's really remarkable how they act. They're clearly excited, but mostly all business. During the actual launch, they seem to be very nonchalant, simply doing what they need to do; it doesn't look much different then I must look as I fasten my seatbelt, adjust the rear view mirror and pull out of my driveway in my car.

It's a really odd juxtaposition! All the usual words we hear when we watch a launch are there, but somehow I expected the astronauts to be more animated, more excited. Instead, they mostly just sit there. They look like they're taking the bus downtown, not a multi-billion dollar rocket into space!

When they are finally into space you can start to see how excited they are; a series of bright flashes from the Orbital Maneuvering System outside the cabin makes them all laugh, and they make several comments about how cool some of the events are.

The whole video is several minutes long, but worth a watch.

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