No, Internet – Jack White Didn’t Play a Vinyl Record in Space
The Rocker blasted Carl Sagan's "A Glorious Dawn" nearly 95,000 feet above the Earth's surface, but the modified phonograph never left the stratosphereAugust 2, 2016
But he didn’t drop the needle in space.
Contrary to recent headlines (e.g. BBC News: “Jack White plays first vinyl in space”), the White Stripes frontman and Third Man Records sent the high-tech record player deep into Earth’s stratosphere but nowhere near the edge of space.
Slate helps set the record straight by explaining: “The National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created NASA in 1958, simply defines space as ‘outside Earth’s atmosphere.'” Which is to say, anywhere from 50 km to 600 km above sea level. The Sagan-inspired vinyl, meanwhile, started playing after the balloon it was attached to burst at around 29 km, well short of that range.
That said, what White and his record label accomplished was both technically and artistically impressive. “Our main goal was to inject imagination and inspiration into the daily discourse of music,” the rocker said in a press release.
Watch the video diary of the complete mission below (or skip ahead to the 1:21:20 mark to see the pinnacle of the Icarus Craft’s ascent):