The U.S. space agency has now made hundreds of these videos available on YouTube. NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California has begun the process of migrating approximately 500 videos from its archives to the video sharing platform.
The archival footage covers important tests carried out by NASA that have enabled it to develop its space program. A historic video from 1981 depicts the Columbia space shuttle, which was the first reusable and piloted spacecraft to be launched into orbit by the U.S. and return safely to Earth. The launch was more than 20 years before the same shuttle disintegrated upon reentry to Earth’s atmosphere in a 2003 mission, killing all seven crew members onboard.
Other videos are a little more lighthearted and amateur. A 1962 home video shot by NASA engineer Dale Reed shows a test flight of the M2-F1—a plane affectionately known as the “flying bathtub”—while there are also several videos of mock emergency rescue missions, where astronauts are pushed head-first down a slide to safety.