To celebrate the seventh anniversary of Third Man Records and their 3 millionth record pressed, Jack White’s label previously revealed they would endeavor to make history by playing a phonographic record in space. Mission accomplished: The label’s custom-built, “space-proof” Icarus Craft turntable deployed Saturday via high-altitude balloon to successfully spin Carl Sagan’s “A Glorious Dawn.” Watch video of the feat above.
According to Third Man, the Icarus Craft reached a peak altitude of 94,413 feet after 81 minutes of flight time before the balloon burst. During its entire flight into the sky and out of Earth’s atmosphere, “A Glorious Dawn” played on repeat.
Remarkably, as the parachuting Icarus Craft descended back to Earth at a speed four times faster than its ascension, the turntable continued to spin the Sagan record in a “turbulence mode” created to withstand the bumpy fall back to the planet. When the Icarus Craft was finally recovered in a vineyard, “A Glorious Dawn” still spun.
Besides the turbulence and other scientific obstacles that previously made spinning a record in space inconceivable, Kevin Carrico, the engineer behind the Icarus Craft, also dealt with the fact that vinyl has a low melting point of 160 degrees, which threatened to “physically distort” the LP on its journey. To offset that, “A Glorious Dawn” was pressed as a gold-plated vinyl to endure the heat.
“Our main goal from inception to completion of this project was to inject imagination and inspiration into the daily discourse of music and vinyl lovers,” White said in a statement. “Combining our creative impulses with those of discovery and science is our passion, and even on the scale that we are working with here, it was exhilarating to decide to do something that hasn’t been done before and to work towards its completion.”