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Jack White‘s record label, Third Man, successfully launched a specially constructed turntable into the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere this past weekend, where it played a gold vinyl record of Carl Sagan‘s “A Glorious Dawn” speech that became the first vinyl recording played near space.

Designed by Kevin Carrico and attached to a high-altitude balloon launched outside of Marsing, Idaho, the “space-proof” Icarus Craft reached a peak altitude of 94,413 feet after 81 minutes of flight, at which time the balloon burst and the craft began its descent. The turntable played the record over and over again during the entire flight via a custom phono cartridge, stylus and computer program.

  • Once the descent began, the record continued to spin, but the tone arm was programmed to lift from the record surface to protect the needle and the disc.
  • White said in a statement, “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 . . . it was exhilarating to decide to do something that hasn’t been done before and to work towards its completion.”
  • He added, “It brings us great fulfillment to pay tribute to the incredible scientist and dreamer that Carl Sagan was. We hope that in meeting our goal we inspire others to dream big and start their own missions, whatever they may be.”
  • The launch celebrated Third Man’s seventh anniversary as well as the special copy of “A Glorious Dawn” being the three millionth record pressed by the label.

– D.

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