Recent shuttle launch as seen from an airliner.
Also, funny pilot! :D
I once saw a televised launch of an Ariane rocket at the Kourou Space Center.
The ESA had a helicopter orbiting the launch pad and filming the launch, and it looked awesome!
I couldn't find that on YouTube but I did find this nifty montage with a soothing Daft Punk soundtrack:
Space is the place!
So back in the early '90s, my buddy Fritz Bronner was trying to turn his "Lift-Off" board game into
a multimedia PC point-and-click management simulator with cool graphics and even cooler mission videos.
The goal of the game remained the same: put a man (or a woman) on the Moon and bring him/her back safely.
Players started off in the '50s with a few satellite-launching rockets and built up their space programs.
The original board game included the US, the USSR, the Europeans, and Japan. This was simplified for the
computer game to just the US and the USSR. Both sides had access to all the historical hardware as well
as many of the experimental programs and systems that were never used (mini-shuttle, 4-man LEMs, etc...).
With the fall of the Soviet Union, Fritz was deluged with Russian space program information the likes of
which he had only dreamed off. Of all my friends, I don't think there's a bigger cheerleader for space
exploration than him. He recruited me to help out with organizing the material.
We watched videos of N2 rockets being tested, Russian monsters the size of Saturn V behemoths.
Footage no one outside of the USSR had ever seen, until now.
He had poster-sized schematics of Russian capsules and rockets, photos, manuals, and on and on.
It was pretty amazing and pretty daunting.
Once we had everything sorted and organized, Fritz set about using the information to build models of
the various rockets and capsules to use in mission videos for the game. The whole point of making a
multimedia game was to be able to watch the missions put together by the players unfold on video.
My involvement with the project ended there and I went off to do I don't even remember what.
I still visited Fritz regularly and checked out his progress on the game.
At some point, Fritz signed a deal with Interplay and Buzz Aldrin was brought in as consultant and as
a known quantity whose name could be put on the box and added to the game's title to help marketing.
"Buzz Aldrin's Race Into Space" was born.
The first release of the game was on microfloppies, ironically enough.
It was 1993 and not enough people had CD-ROM drives on their PCs yet.
Interplay organized a little release event at the Manhattan Beach Fry's Electronics (the Tiki one).
Buzz Aldrin was there, along with Fritz. This is how I came to meet Buzz Aldrin.
I shook his hand and he signed my box of BARIS.
Interplay actually released a CD-ROM version a little bit later, and Fritz had stuffed it full of videos!
If anyone is interested in playing the game, it's now open-source and available through here.
Happy 40th Moon Landing, Apollo 11! :D