The Soyuz MS-15 Launch, Seen From Above and Below

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Yesterday, a Russian Soyuz-FG booster rocket blasted off from its launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, bound for the International Space Station (ISS). Aboard the rocket was the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft, which, in turn, was carrying the ISS Expedition 61 crew members Jessica Meir of NASA and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, as well as Hazzaa Ali Almansoori of the United Arab Emirates. This launch was notable, as it was well covered by photographers both on the ground and in orbit, as astronauts aboard the ISS were able to look down and capture images of their approaching colleagues as they climbed into the sky, accelerating to approximately 17,000 mph (27,350 kph).

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    • As seen from the International Space Station (ISS), the second stage of the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft deploys shortly after the rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25, 2019. The Russian rocket was carrying the U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir, the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and the United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori to the ISS. 


    • A Soyuz rocket is rolled out by train to the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on September 23, 2019. 

      Bill Ingalls / NASA

    • Russia’s Soyuz-FG booster rocket with the Soyuz MS-15 spaceship is raised to vertical at the launchpad at Baikonur on September 23, 2019. 

      Maxim Shipenkov / AP

    • Valery Korzun, a former cosmonaut and the current head of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center operations team, is blessed by the Russian Orthodox priest Father Sergei at the launchpad in Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on September 24, 2019. 

      Bill Ingalls / NASA

    • The Soyuz-FG booster rocket sits mounted on the launchpad on September 23, 2019. 

      Maxim Shipenkov / AFP / Getty

    • From left: The United Arab Emirates astronaut Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, the Russian cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka, and the U.S. astronaut Jessica Meir—members of the main crew of the expedition to the ISS—walk prior to the launch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome on September 25, 2019. 

      Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

    • The Soyuz-FG rocket booster carrying a new crew to the ISS blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on September 25, 2019. 

      Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

    • The Soyuz spacecraft is launched with the Expedition 61 crew members on board on September 25, 2019. 

      Bill Ingalls / NASA

    • People watch the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket booster on September 25, 2019. 

      Dmitri Lovetsky / AP

    • The rocket climbs into the sky, reaching the cloud cover, on September 25, 2019. 

      Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters

    • Astronauts aboard the ISS look down toward Kazakhstan to photograph the Soyuz rocket piercing the cloud cover on its ascent to their orbit. 


    • A view from aboard the ISS, looking toward Kazakhstan, as fellow astronauts aboard the Soyuz rocket climb farther from Earth. 


    • A closer view of the exhaust trail left behind by the climbing Soyuz spacecraft, as seen from the ISS 


    • The spacecraft accelerates toward the ISS as it climbs, catching up and matching its speed. 


    • This image was made by the astronaut Christina Koch, who described it saying: “What it looks like from the space station when your best friend achieves her lifelong dream to go to space. Caught the second stage in progress! We can’t wait to welcome you on board, crew of Soyuz 61!” 

      Christina Koch / NASA

    • A ground-based view from about the same time as the above photo shows the exhaust plume of the Soyuz spacecraft as seen from the Siberian city of Omsk, Russia, on September 25, 2019. 

      Alexey Malgavko / Reuters

    • The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft closes in on the ISS, with the Pacific Ocean obscured by clouds below. 

      NASA TV

    • The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft is maneuvered around the ISS to begin docking procedures. 

      NASA TV

    • A camera aboard the ISS monitors the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft as it inches toward the docking module. 

      NASA TV

    • After a successful docking, the new ISS crew members board, bringing the number of astronauts aboard the space station to nine. Back row, from left: Christina Koch, Alexey Ovchinin, and Nick Hague; Middle row: Andrew Morgan, Aleksandr Skvortsov, and Luca Parmitano; Front row: Hazzaa Ali Almansoori, Oleg Skripochka, and Jessica Meir. 

      NASA TV


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