Rocketcams trace Soyuz launch from French Guiana


Posted: April 6, 2014

A suite of on-board cameras recorded dazzling views of Thursday's successful Soyuz launch from the Guiana Space Center, supplying an unprecedented look at the workings of the venerable Russian rocket in flight.

The rocketcams show the 151-foot-tall launcher lifting off from its purpose-built launch pad in French Guiana, the home base of Europe's Ariane 5 rocket. Russia's medium-lift Soyuz vehicle and the Italian-led Vega lightweight satellite booster joined Ariane at the Guiana Space Center in 2011 and 2012.

Thursday's launch lifted the Sentinel 1A satellite into orbit, beginning the multi-year deployment of Europe's flagship Copernicus Earth observation system.

Liftoff was at 2102:26 GMT (5:02:26 p.m. EDT; 6:02:26 p.m. local time).

Developed in Germany by Keyser-Threde, the four on-board cameras show the Soyuz rocketing through low-level clouds, surpassing the speed of sound and releasing four kerosene-fueled boosters about two minutes after liftoff.

The cameras also recorded separation of the Soyuz rocket's second stage and payload fairing, which shielded the Sentinel 1A satellite during the early phase of flight.

The footage includes release of the Soyuz rocket's third stage from a Fregat upper stage, which ignited to propel the Sentinel 1A spacecraft into polar orbit. The sequence ends with a spectacular view from a forward-facing camera showing deployment of Sentinel 1A about 425 miles above the North Atlantic Ocean.

See our Mission Status Center for the latest news on the launch.

Video credit: Arianespace/ESA/Roscosmos

Video credit: Arianespace
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