Despite its challenges, and the end of its shuttle program, NASA is in many ways, more relevant today than it’s been in decades. Movies about astronauts from Gravity to Interstellar portray the long-struggling agency in a positive light, and the launch of the new Orion spacecraft–which allows the American agency to send its own astronauts into space, as opposed to utilizing Russian craft–is a major development in the U.S. space program. (Even if the Guardian did attempt to harsh America’s mellow by describing the launch in a headline as “a last-ditch effort by a fading empire that will never strike back.”)
All of the renewed interest and relevance for NASA makes good timing for the agency’s decision to release decades worth of sounds from the history of spaceflight onto SoundCloud. Exploring the page, which went live last month, reveals dozens of audio files that represent various stages in the program: mission launch sounds, solar system sounds, rocket engine sounds, speeches, and more. Finally, you can set your computer’s error message to “Houston, we’ve had a problem,” or perhaps make your ringtone the curious fart-like sound of the comet Tempel 1 passing by the Stardust in 2011, if you like your space sounds to be a bit more abstract.