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
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: