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This Astronaut Video of a Rocket Launch as Seen from Space Is Simply Amazing

Look out, International Space Station, this spacecraft is hot on your tail! An astronaut captured a stunning time lapse video of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft, also known as Progress 71, on its way to the orbiting complex.

About 15 minutes of the Progress launch on Nov. 16 show up in the time lapse video posted on the European Space Agency website. The video clearly shows the flare of rocket launch, the spacecraft making its way up into space, and the re-entry of the first stage of the rocket. As the spacecraft becomes a bright light in the sky, the Earth spins below.

European Space Astronaut Alexander Gerst, the commander of Expedition 57, captured the images from the wrap-around Cupola window on the space station. He set a camera that took pictures at regular intervals, and the resulting timelapse shows the launch at about eight to 16 times normal speed, according to a statement from ESA.

Progress delivered 5,652 pounds (2,564 kg) to the space station Nov. 18 after making a flawless launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, where Russia blasts cargo and cosmonauts to the space station. The next scheduled launch from the site will have a crew on board — the three-person Expedition 58 crew, which is expected to leave Earth at 6:31 a.m. EST Dec. 3 (1131 GMT).

Gerst, NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Russian cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev arrived at the space station on June 8. Gerst's crew was supposed to be joined by two other astronauts after an Oct. 11 launch, but that flight aborted during launch due to a deformed sensor in the rocket. Russia swiftly wrapped up an investigation and moved the Expedition 58 launch three weeks earlier in order to keep the station crewed while Gerst's team leaves for home on Dec. 20.

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Elizabeth Howell
Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is pursuing a Ph.D. part-time in aerospace sciences (University of North Dakota) after completing an M.Sc. (space studies) at the same institution. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @HowellSpace.