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Phonograph Factola



By Doug Boilesen

FACTOLA: Furthest Distance from Earth a Record played on a turntable - The Icarus and Third Man Records - July 2, 2016


The record has been set by the Icarus Craft (balloon) for the furthest from Earth that a record has ever been spun.

Jack White's Third Man Records played a record high in Earth's atmosphere on July 2, 2016, using a ballloon and a "spaceproof" turntable. The goal of the mission was to send a vinyl record up as high as possible and document it being played there.

During its ascent of one hour and twenty minutes, "the Icarus turntable played Carl Sagan's "A Glorious Dawn" (from “Cosmos” by Symphony of Science composer John Boswell) on repeat, using an impressively sturdy phono cartridge and stylus as well as an onboard flight computer programmed with a few different actions to keep the record playing while it was safe to do so."

Voyager 1 and 2 have obviously gone billions of miles further than the Icarus. But the Voyagers have yet to play a record while travelling in space.

For now, the Icarus Craft launched by Third Man Records has the record for distance in space that a record has been played.


Courtesy Third Man Records, 2019


Here is a link to the Third Man Records website describing the historic record playing event including a video that captures the launch in its entirety and a shorter recap video.


Courtesy Third Man Records, 2016









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