Learn All About the History of Rockets in Just Four Minutes

Illustration for article titled Learn All About the History of Rockets in Just Four Minutes

Diehard fans of space exploration, rejoice! That pseudonymous foul-mouthed mastermind, exurb1a, who gave us the universe in just four minutes, is back with an irreverent video tackling the colorful history of rocket science.

It’s set to the tune of “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance—although calling it a “tune” might be pushing that definition a bit. It’s more of a rapid-fire recitation with piano accompaniment.

The lyrics touch on the Chinese discovery of gunpowder, Isaac Newton, the invention of liquid-fuel rockets, the Sputnik era, the first manned moon landing, the International Space Station, and the emergence of private rocket companies. Plus the odd cutting remark about the JFK assassination, NASA funding cuts, Total Recall, and Pokemon Go. (“Team Mystic represent by the way. We’ll bathe in the blood of our enemies.”)

If you’re keen for more, exurb1a also has a Patreon page, where you can donate to support future videos. Personally, I’d love to see his cover version of “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” played entirely on the Belgian nose flute.


Little is known about the mysterious exurb1, but he claims to live in Eastern Europe with a trusty pencil named Tim. Per the Patreon page:

“I currently make Youtube videos with snatches of my time in between working and my other hobbies which include: working, managing a Mexican drug empire, and working.... When I was young I wanted to be a musician. But I’m terrible at piano. So I decided to be a writer. I was atrocious at writing. I got a little older. Youtubing seems to be going all right. And by all right I mean mediocre content and angst.”

[Laughing Squid]


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Fun/sad fact: Laika was the first living thing in orbit. She was just a stray picked up off the street, but her flight paved the way for humans. Before Laika’s flight no one knew if mammals could breathe or swallow in extended weightlessness, or if cosmic radiation would prove fatal on an orbital flight. She survived in orbit for about 5 hours, when the spacecraft’s cooling system failed; she died of hyperthermia, and her capsule burned up on reentry. She has been honored with statues and commemorative stamps.