A rocket launch is always an impressive spectacle to behold — whether you watch the live stream on the Internet or you have the privilege of witnessing the event from somewhere near the launch site. And, while we’ve seen our fair share of memorable rocket launches from Earth, a handful of people have the unique opportunity of watching these amazing endeavors from space.
A gorgeous video shot from the International Space Station (ISS) captures a spacecraft blast off into orbit, revealing what a rocket launch looks like from the other side of the Karman Line — the commonly accepted boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
The footage —a timelapse of a Soyuz-FG rocket launch, filmed from the ISS by German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA) — fills in the missing pieces of the story, unveiling the unseen aspects of spaceflight that normally evade the eyes of Earth-bound observers.
According to the ESA, the short film was captured on November 16, when the Soyuz-FG rocket took to space carrying the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft. Also known as Progress 71, the cargo vessel was sent on a supply run to the ISS and docked with the orbital outpost two days later.
The spectacular sight was caught on camera by Gerst, who managed to film about 15 minutes of the Progress 71 launch from the wrap-around Cupola window on the space station. Earlier this week, the German astronaut took to Twitter to share the incredible views from space.
“This is real,” tweeted Gerst, who helms the ISS as commander of Expedition 57.
This is real. How a space ship leaves our planet, seen from ISS. / Dies sind echte Aufnahmen. Wie ein Raumschiff unseren Planeten verlässt – von der ISS aus gesehen. #Horizons Hi-Res: https://t.co/p0PeiITcWS pic.twitter.com/Mmpv5h3P21— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) November 22, 2018
The breathtaking time-lapse was captured with a camera set to take photos at regular intervals and shows the launch at about eight to 16 times the normal speed.
In the video, the Soyuz rocket can be seen leaving our planet in a bright flare and later deploying the Progress 71 cargo ship into. The key moments of the launch show the separation of the rocket booster at 00:07, the first stage separation at 00:19, and the Progress spacecraft being deployed and entering orbit at 00:34 — followed by the fiery re-entry of the Soyuz first stage in Earth’s atmosphere 00:36.
The rocket and its payload soared to the skies from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1:14 p.m. EST on November 16. The Russian cargo arrived at the ISS on November 18, carrying 5,652 pounds of supplies for the astronauts living and working 250 miles above the Earth.
“The Progress spacecraft delivered food, fuel and supplies, including about 750 kilograms of propellant, 75 kilograms of oxygen and air, and 440 liters of water,” notes a statement from the ESA.
This is the first flight of a Soyuz-FG rocket since a malfunction incident led to a launch abort on October 11, notes Sputnik News.
“The Progress spacecraft was originally scheduled to be launched to the ISS on October 30 but the launch was rescheduled for November 16 following the abortive launch of October 11,” reports the Russian news agency TASS.
Last month’s incident occurred during the manned launch of the MS-10 capsule, which was bound for the ISS with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin on board. The two astronauts were unharmed and managed to land safely back on Earth a few minutes after liftoff, the Inquisitr reported at the time.
The next scheduled launch from Baikonur will take place on December 3, when the Soyuz MS-11 capsule is due to take a three-member crew to the space station. The astronauts waiting to make the flight into space are NASA’s Anne McClain, Roscosmos’ Oleg Kononenko, and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency.