The Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) is a sound system so loud that, if you ever heard it, it would kill you.
In the photo, engineer Kees van Zijtveldt is standing beside the largest sound horn of ESA’s Large European Acoustic Facility that subjects satellites to the same levels of noise produced by rockets as they take off and fly through the atmosphere.
It is the most powerful sound system in Europe which no human being could survive hearing at maximum output.
Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF)
LEAF is an integral part of ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, a collection of spaceflight simulation facilities under a single roof. One wall of the chamber, which stands 11 m wide by 9 m deep and 16.4 m high, is embedded with a set of enormous sound horns. Nitrogen shot through the horns can produce a range of noise up to more than 154 decibels, like standing close to multiple jets taking off.
The LEAF includes safety features to ensure that its lethal audio capabilities are not tested. It can operate only once all the doors are closed. Steel-reinforced concrete walls safely contain its noise, coated with epoxy resin to reflect noise to produce a uniform sound field within the chamber. The chamber itself is supported on rubber bearing pads to isolate it from its surroundings.