We’ve seen plenty of time-lapse but this one is probably unique as it captures the launch of a Progress rocket directly from the International Space Station (ISS).
Orbiting at 18,000 mph, 250 miles high, the ISS requires regular supplies from Earth to replenish its fuel, oxygen, water, and food store. Since NASA retired the Space Shuttle back in 2011, this task is now mostly carried out by unmanned cargo modules like the Russian Progress MS-10 spacecraft. The latest ISS delivery mission was launch on November 16 from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and delivered 2.5 tons of supply including about 750 kg of propellant, 75 kg of oxygen and air and 440 liters of water among other things. The European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst (Germany) captured the lift off sequence of the Russian Soyuz rocket as the ISS was passing over the launch pad. Spacecraft are launched after the Space Station flies overhead so they catch up with the orbital outpost to dock, in this case two days later on 18 November 2018. The astronaut used the newly delivered Nikon D5 to film the rocket launch as Nikon is the official provider of the ISS cameras.
The European Space Agency says “The images were taken from the European-built Cupola module with a camera set to take pictures at regular intervals. The pictures are then played quickly after each other at 8 to 16 times normal speed. The video shows around 15 minutes of the launch at normal speed.”
Here are the notable moments in this video:
- 0:07 Soyuz-FG rocket booster separation.
- 0:20 Core stage separation.
- 0:34 Progress spacecraft separates from rocket and enters orbit to catch up with the International Space Station.
- 0:37 Core stage starts burning in the atmosphere as it returns to Earth after having spent all its fuel.