Viewing a Spacecraft Launch from Space

Using a powerful lens, an astronaut captured, from the ISS, the spacecraft with the Atlas engines still firing and long tendrils of exhaust trailing back toward Cape Canaveral in Florida.

On December 6, 2015, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) were awaiting the launch of the Cygnus Commercial Resupply Services spacecraft. Cygnus was lofted into space by an Atlas V rocket, with engines that fire for about 18 minutes. This photograph was taken 4 minutes 12 seconds after launch as the crew looked southwest into the dusk sky.

The spacecraft is a tiny object and would otherwise have been invisible to the crew. This photo of the launch was snapped when the ISS was far to the north-northeast over the Atlantic Ocean, just east of Newfoundland.

Sixty-one hours after the launch, Cygnus arrived at the ISS and an astronaut took a close-up image of the resupply ship about to be captured by the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Cygnus ferried various cargo to the orbiting crew, including science investigations, crew supplies, computer resources, hardware for the ISS, and spacewalk equipment—in all totaling 3513 kilograms (7,745 pounds).

source earthobservatory