The Satellite “Brown Note”

The DailyMail posted this article about the European Space Agency’s (ESA) use of sound in satellite development.  The ESA likes to use satellites that can withstand the rigors of a rocket launch.  One of those rigors is the loud, vibration-prone environment a satellite payload sits in during a rocket launch.  Like the Mythbusters test to figure out the reality of the “brown note (see below),” the ESA is also using REALLY BIG speakers.

According to the post and accompanying pictures, the ESA uses speaker horns larger than a man.  The speakers, set in a special chamber, subject satellites to the equivalent noise of a rocket during take-off (or more than 154 decibels).  It makes sense the ESA would like to test the satellites on the ground with this kind of thing, right?  It would be much more difficult to figure it out during a launch after all.

The article also mentions a few small facts about what is too loud, and how sound can be used as a weapon.  The possibility of sound-induced death is even mentioned.  The post doesn’t mention whether ear protection or diapers are effective countermeasures against those sound-based weapons.  It all Depends–just not for the ESA’s satellite tests.

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