Ever wondered how it looks when an astronaut launches into space? Alexander Gerst, from the European Space Agency, has lifted the lid on this rare spectacle by setting up a camera on his recent rocket launch and taking a series of photos at regular intervals. The final footage provides a stunning insight into a truly unique experience.

The video, shared by Gerst and the agency on Thursday, is a timelapse taken on November 16 at 6:14 p.m. from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Gerst used a Cupola module with a camera to capture 15 minutes of a launch at between eight to 16 times the normal speed. The video captures several key moments in a rocket launch, like the booster separation at the seven-second mark, the core stage separation at the 19-second mark, and the 34-second mark where the core stage starts burning on its descent to earth and the spacecraft enters orbit.

Expedition 50 Supermoon
A Soyuz rocket at the Baikonur cosmodrome ready for liftoff.

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In this video, the Progress MS-10 cargo craft is sending 5,653 pounds of cargo up to the International Space Station, including 1,654 pounds of propellant, 165 pounds of oxygen and 116 gallons of water. Timing is everything with these launches, as the space station moves across the sky at nearly 18,000 mph around 250 miles in the sky. The team timed the launch so the space station had already passed overhead, enabling the ship to meet with the station two days later.

Baikonur cosmodrome has become NASA’s means of sending astronauts to and from the space station, after the American agency cut its shuttle program in 2011. That may soon change, as both SpaceX and Boeing are competing to become the first companies to send astronauts into space on American soil. NASA’s current arrangement suffered a setback last month when two people en route to the space station suffered a “ballistic descent” soon after liftoff.

NASA is set to host an uncrewed test flight for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule on January 7, 2019.

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