spaceSpace and Physics

Amazing Footage Shows A Rocket Launching To The ISS As Seen From Space


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

Seán Doran/YouTube

Seeing a rocket launch from the ground is pretty great. But seeing one launch from space? Well, that’s just awesome.

And that’s what a video from visual artist Seán Doran rather wonderfully reveals, using footage from the International Space Station (ISS) to show the launch of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Friday, November 16.


The time-lapse footage covers about 15 minutes after the rocket was launched. At about 39 seconds into the video, you can see the re-entry of one of the rocket stages into the atmosphere, as the spacecraft made its way towards the ISS. The yellow ring, meanwhile, is Earth’s atmosphere.

The Progress spacecraft was launched to the ISS with about 5,400 pounds (2,450 kilograms) of supplies on board for the crew on the ISS – ESA’s Alexandra Gerst (who took the footage), Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA, and Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos (the Russian space agency). It took about two days for the spacecraft to catch up to and dock with the space station.

This was also the first launch of the human-rated Soyuz-FG rocket since the failure of a previous rocket on October 11. On that flight, NASA’s Nick Hague and Roscosmos’ Alexey Ovchinin returned safely to Earth after an emergency landing just moments after the launch.

This launch of the Progress spacecraft was seen as being a key step for Russia to get back to launching humans again. The turnaround from that failure has been pretty rapid, though, with another crew set to launch to the ISS in early December. Proving the Soyuz-FG was fine was pretty important.


Despite the lack of two additional crew members arriving on the ISS, it has still been a busy time for the three astronauts on board. Aside from the Progress spacecraft, they also welcomed Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft on Monday, November 19.

With all these launches happening, you might be forgiven for regarding spaceflight as routine. But if this video from Doran shows us anything, it’s that spaceflight – no matter how regular it becomes – can still look fantastically amazing. Especially when you can watch a rocket launching to an orbiting space station from space. Not bad, humanity.


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