To celebrate SpaceX’s breath-taking firing test yesterday, Feb. 9, 2023, of the gigantic Starship Super Heavy booster rocket (230 feet, 69 meters tall), with 31of 33 first-stage booster engines lighting up in a volcano of flame and smoke, here is my music video “Space Crackle”. This test confirms Starship as the biggest and most powerful spacecraft ever built, capable of generating 17 million pounds of liftoff thrust.
I wrote “Space Crackle” in December 2022, after I learned from scientist and astrophysicist Scott Manley, that there is such a thing: the exhaust from an accelerating rocket emits sound waves from the gas flow blowing out and piling into the atmosphere, and the sound waves are actually visible.
A fascinating phenomenon
A lot of this energy goes into heat but about 1% is emitted as sound which can be detected as a crackling noise. This sound wave has an amplitude greater than the atmospheric pressure limit, resulting in the wave being clipped at 194 dB, the loudest possible sound – but it has been recorded from far away. This fascinated me.
I listened to a remote recording of this sound, and it sounded like it starts in the key of A#, with a distinct rise and fall in amplitude, and therefore key, as the waves resonate. From that, literally putting notes to the crackle, I created the composition. You can hear the crackle running in the background.
I find it wonderful that the engineering achievement of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket left a visible trail of abstract music behind it as it crossed the face of the moon.
Can you imagine the trail and space crackle that Starship Super Heavy will emit when it eventually blasts into space?
The soundtrack of the video has not been released yet – the song still has to be finalized, mixed and mastered, so you’d be listening to a working version. But I thought events coincided nicely, so here’s the video.