Apollo 11 Sound Experience

A picture of the moon in space.

Preparing For Launch

The Moon. Arguably one of the greatest achievements in the history of space travel. It’s wild to think that people have been on that little circle of cheese in the sky, and even wilder that we’re going back. Space has always been a huge passion for me. So much so that one of my most cherished childhood possessions was my little season pass to the Burke Baker planetarium at the Houston Museum of Natural Science; whenever there was a new film or experience, my mom and I would go and spend the day gazing at the stars.

My love for science and space travel continued to high school, where I have vivid memories of afternoons with my science teacher Dr.Cote, talking about rockets and the latest NASA news, we even set up a watch party when the Curiosity rover landed back in 2012. All of these events and interactions with the wonders of space have stayed with me for my whole life. So, for the sound experience project, I choose the monumental event of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

Mission Log

As soon as I started the project I knew I wanted to use a piece from the Interstellar soundtrack. It is hands down my favorite movie of all time, and I absolutely love the soundtrack created by Hans Zimmer. The core style of the soundtrack gives me chills every time I hear it, and it sparks a truly unique sense of wonder and curiosity.

The problem I now faced was which song should I use. If you’ve seen Interstellar, then you’re probably picturing the film in your head, thinking of some core moments throughout the movie. As I did this myself, I remembered that the track I play most often is Cornfield Chase. This is the scene where Cooper, Murph, and Tom are chasing after a mysterious drone through rows and rows of corn. Take a listen below:

With my song selected I got right to work collecting sound artifacts relevant to the launch. I knew that nasa kept audio recordings of a lot of famous missions, so I started downloading and trimming to get the very best bits.

I also wanted a sort of preface to the mission recordings, something that could spark wonder and simulate that same fuzzy feeling I get when I watch the film and think about Space. After perusing through the events that led up to the launch, I remembered that John F Kennedy’s Rice University speech would be perfect for the job. I trimmed the speech and extracted this memorable line:


A couple more audio bits were collected to form a short chronological story into the Apollo 11 launch. My goal was for listeners to feel like they were progressing through this historic event, just as humanity progressed after JFK’s speech. I cut together countdown audio as well as some other famous lines from the astronauts themselves.

But instead of giving you more tidbits, listen to the full experience for yourself. Make sure you’re sitting down because you may get some intense goosebumps.

Mission Successful

I really loved the outcome of this project. It helped me experiment with audio like I never had before. I also have a strong interest in accessibility so getting to do a project like this helped me flex my universal design muscles. I wouldn’t change anything about my final product. I love this audio experience and I plan on posting it somewhere to share with the other kids that have a season pass to the Planetarium. Experiences like this are what sparked my love for space, and I can only hope to do the same for others.