Seeing the orange plumes of the rocket jet into the sky above Steamboat Springs, CO, one could almost have mistaken it for a SpaceX launch. But it was actually the world’s largest firework.
The explosion ignited the Colorado night sky on Feb. 8. In the video, you can hear the burst’s thunderclap reach the thrilled spectators a full seven seconds afterward. The firework weighed about 2,800 lb—nearly a ton and a half—and measured about 5 feet in diameter. Imagine a round shell slightly larger than Danny DeVito and with the weight of an adult walrus.
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But don’t count on seeing a firework display like this at a baseball game any time soon—the physics behind the project are as daunting as they are impressive. The firework shell had to be launched from a tube buried deep in Colorado’s Emerald Mountain, shooting 1 mile into the air at 300 mph before bursting.
The team responsible, led by pyrotechnician Tim Borden, had been working for seven years to see the project to fruition. After an attempt in 2019 ended in failure, Borden and his team went back to the drawing board. This time, they constructed the firework shell using 60 miles of tape to keep the payload safe during the initial launch. Despite fears of inclement weather, the launch went off without a hitch. The firework display also celebrated Steamboat Springs’ 107th Annual Winter Carnival.
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The wickedly impressive fireworks feat was monitored and recorded by the folks at Guinness World Records. It replaced the previous record for the world’s largest firework, set in 2018 by the United Arab Emirates. See the full video of the historic Colorado event below.
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