PWOPPP, Click! This Is What Spaceships Sound Like When They're Docking

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Bow-chicka-bow-wow! The Soyuz spacecraft docked to the International Space Station during a mission of Russian cosmonauts in August 2012 (Reuters)

When two spaceships love each other very much ...

Just kidding. Sort of. But late Thursday night, high above the planet, two orbiting spacecraft -- the Soyuz capsule, carrying three astronauts, and the International Space Station -- got to know each other. Under the stars. As the Earth moved below them.

The Soyuz, in other words, docked with the ISS. And Chris Hadfield, astronaut and current denizen of the orbiting laboratory, was there to record the occasion. He was decent enough not to film actual video of the proceedings, but Hadfield did capture audio of the docking: a low-humming buzz -- the typical, tinny soundtrack of the station -- followed by a sucking noise, and a low-but-sharp "pwoppp," and a click when the deed was done. The ISS shook just a little, Hadfield notes, as it adjusted to the gravitational tug of the new craft that had just attached to it. Make your own jokes about that one.

Here's Hadfield's recording. The docking itself takes place at second 12.

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic. She was formerly an assistant editor at the Nieman Journalism Lab, where she wrote about innovations in the media.


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