We typically only get to see rocket launches from ground level, where the space-bound craft drifts further and further away from sight. But in this dramatic new video, we finally get to see what a rocket launch looks like from the perspective of space itself.
This timelapse video was put together by satellite firm Planet, and it shows a Soyuz rocket taking off from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 14. As noted by Planet’s Vincent Beukelaers, it was a matter of having a satellite at the right place at the right time.
“Our Dove constellation [of satellites] is a monitoring one, meaning we point each Dove straight down, imaging what’s directly below in strips as the Earth rotates,” wrote Beukelaers at the company blog. “In the hours leading up to our recent Soyuz launch we determined that a Dove would be near enough to Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to get a shot of our newest flock launching. Once we determined it was possible, our Attitude Control team worked with our Mission Operations team to point a Dove at the launch pad.”
The team only had five hours to prepare, but the end result turned out to be pretty amazing.
The dove satellite captured one still image per second of the accelerating rocket, while the satellite itself was moving at a breakneck clip of seven kilometers per second (15,658 mph). Planet’s imaging team cropped and stitched the stills together, condensing two-and-a-half minutes of real-time into a quick 11-second video. It may be short, but it’s super sweet.
Here’s what the launch looked like from the ground.
Ironically enough, Planet’s satellite captured images of a rocket loaded with even more Dove satellites. Hopefully that means we’ll get to see more videos like this in the future.