On December 3, three astronauts left Earth’s orbit to journey to the International Space Station (ISS). The trio — made up of NASA astronaut Anne McClain, David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency, and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos — boarded a Soyuz MS-11 capsule that flew them to the orbital outpost on the same day, as the Inquisitr reported at the time.
Their six-hour trip to the ISS began with a swift ascent through Earth’s atmosphere and a majestic soar toward the orbital research facility, which is floating some 250 miles above the planet.
While the spaceflight experience must have been truly memorable for the occupants of the Soyuz MS-11 capsule — particularly for McClain and Saint-Jacques, who had never flown into space before — the best view of the rocket launch was enjoyed by the astronauts waiting to greet their new crew-mates on board the orbiting laboratory, notes Space.
From his unique vantage point on the ISS, German astronaut Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency (ESA) was able to photograph the fantastic voyage of the Soyuz capsule and captured incredible snapshots of its trek through Earth’s orbit.
The images were released by ESA in the form of a stunning video, posted on YouTube on December 5. The beautiful clip, which was also shared by Gerst on Twitter, shows a time-lapse of the Soyuz launch as observed from the space station’s Cupola window.
Congratulations to the Russian Space Agency @roscosmos and all international partners for a flawless launch of #SoyuzMS11. And welcome to space, @Astro_DavidS, @AstroAnnimal and Oleg! #Exp57 #Exp58 #Horizons pic.twitter.com/rzEjtm2PcO
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) December 3, 2018
According to the space agency, Gerst photographed the whole thing after installing a camera in front of the wrap-around Cupola window and setting it up to take snapshots at regular intervals.
“Spacecraft are launched after the Space Station flies overhead. This allowed Alexander to set up a camera to take regular pictures at intervals that are played back to create this video,” ESA officials wrote in the video description.
“This is what three astronauts being launched into space looks like — seen from space.”
The time-lapse is completely breathtaking and shows the Soyuz capsule making its way through the layers of Earth’s atmosphere with absolute elegance, leaving behind a trail of white exhaust fumes that dance on the black canvas of the cosmos.
“I still can’t comprehend that there are humans riding on the top of this lone white streak into the great black open,” Gerst wrote in his Twitter post.
This is not the first time that the astronaut has captured amazing footage of a rocket launch from space. As the Inquisitr recently reported, last month Gerst shared an equally enthralling video of the Russian Progress 71 cargo ship launching to the ISS.