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Sound System Simulates the Roar of a Rocket Launch 113

retroworks writes "Located in Noordwijk, Netherlands, and part of ESA's ESTEDC Test Center, is the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF), a sound amplification system 'powerful enough to kill a human being.' LEAF is capable of generating more than 154 decibels, the sound equivalent to standing next to several jets taking off. It is used to blast satellites and spacecraft with sound. Large horns are housed in a sound-proofed room that is 16.4meters tall. One wall of horns stands 11 m wide by 9 m deep and 16.4 m high. LEAF requires all the doors to be closed, operating in steel-reinforced concrete walls to contain the noise. The walls are coated with an epoxy resin to reflect noise, producing a uniform sound field within the chamber."
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Sound System Simulates the Roar of a Rocket Launch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:55PM (#46135685)

    can it go to 11?

  • by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @04:59PM (#46135711)

    1. Can it play Van Halen?

    2. How can I have one installed in my living room?

  • This would have been awesome back in the days of Punk...

  • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:00PM (#46135717) Journal

    ...before this is stolen and installed in a '94 honda civic.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    WHAT DID YOU SAY??????

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:06PM (#46135741)

    Hotblack Desiato and his band Disaster Area

    • Hotblack Desiato and his band Disaster Area

      With *everything* painted black, of course.

      • by dwater ( 72834 )

        " ``It's the wild colour scheme that freaks me,'' said Zaphod whose love affair with this ship had lasted almost three minutes into the flight, ``Every time you try to operate on of these weird black controls that are labelled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up black to let you know you've done it. What is this? Some kind of galactic hyperhearse?''

        The walls of the swaying cabin were also black, the ceiling was black, the seats --- which were rudimentary since the only important t

    • My neighbors will want one, too, but they might just rent one because they'll only need it around 4am on Saturdays.

  • by mpoulton ( 689851 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:09PM (#46135757)
    Car audio competitors exceed 154dB all the time. That's not even close to the sound pressure levels achieved in world-class competitions: [] That's 28.5dB louder than this testing facility, a factor of 707 times more power.
    • by Sparohok ( 318277 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:29PM (#46135839)

      Car audio competitors exceed 154db:
      * In a very small enclosed space (not a 16 meter room large enough to test spacecraft)
      * With an acoustic design to focus sound on the microphone (not intended to create a uniform soundfield)
      * For just a few seconds before the speaker voice coils melt
      * At a very small range of bass frequencies
      * Strictly without nobody inside the car to avoid certain injury - or perhaps even death, we have no way to know

      154db may not be unusual but what the LEAF facility is doing certainly is unusual.


      • by mpoulton ( 689851 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @06:18PM (#46136069)
        That's all certainly true. The facility is very impressive. Not because of the 154dB number, but because of all the other engineering factors involved. There's no doubt that the total amount of power involved is way higher than any audio system, and that it would be very unhealthy to stand in the box. It's just a bit odd and misleading to tout the SPL number as somehow being really impressive, when the chav blasting his ridiculous stereo at 3AM may be in the same dB ballpark.
    • by pz ( 113803 )

      It's one thing to do that inside a car (which is what, 6 x 4 x 9 feet ... or maybe a little larger than that?). It's quite another to do it inside a huge room that's 36 x 30 x 54 feet in size. It's also worth noting that car audio competitions use a single frequency. The LEAP facility is broadband, since it needs to simulate the sound of a launching rocket.

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      Yes I also thought that 154 dB, assuming they're using dBA, seemed a little low to be considered fatal. Wikipedia's table of sound pressure levels claim that rocket acoustic tests typically operate at around 165dB.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:38PM (#46135893)

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  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:38PM (#46135895) Homepage

    Sound system simulates strident sonics of soaring space ships

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Sunday February 02, 2014 @05:57PM (#46135981)

    powerful enough to kill a human?? sounds like the mythbusters need to test this!!

  • That's nothing compared to what my neighbors use in their living room...

  • ...capable of generating more than 154 decibels, the sound equivalent to standing next to several jets taking off....

    Or the equivalent of mentioning Obamacare to Congress

  • This is nice and all, but NASA built one of these for their Plum Brook Glenn Research Center that goes to 163dB.
    wiki article []

  • .... Seahawks fans.

  • move to Venus (Score:4, Interesting)

    by troon ( 724114 ) on Monday February 03, 2014 @03:48AM (#46138687)

    The maximum SPL on Earth is a trifling 193dB: the point at which the negative peak of the compression wave is a total vacuum.

    Move to Venus with its 90atm ambient "air" pressure, and you could get up to 233dB!

    Seriously, if you live near me and like thumping bass in your car, move there now! Ignore all that propaganda about high temperatures and acid rain... 233dB!!!

  • The obvious interpretation, that this device blasts satellites and spacecraft while they are in space, is impossible. Actually all sorts of things (including the aforementioned) are placed into a chamber for sonic vibration testing. Satellites are tested this way for launch-worthiness, not space-worthiness.

  • Can this be installed in a nuclear submarine and transported to the Marianas Trench?

  • My father was an EE for Western Electric and Bell Labs. Way back in the day, he worked on inertial guidance systems for ICBMs.

    He told me about the shaker table they used to simulate boost phase. It used a 500 watt McIntosh amp as the pre-amp driving several foot tall water cooled tubes, (valves for our British friends) as the output devices.

    I've always wanted a setup like that for my sub-sub-sub--woofer.

    • Yeah, I had one in the 70's that I got off an excess list at the Air Force Research Lab. It was in a 6 foot cabinet with a bunch of big tubes. I think I tore the power supply out of it to use for something else, but I thought of hooking it up to a transducer and my guitar, but sadly never did. .

  • I could still hear the Saturn V when the 1st stage dropped off. It had lovely base with a crackling. Figuring speed of sound, vs speed of light and wind and sound drop off over distance, I suspect this thing isn't that loud.

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