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Hard Science

Behold, a rocket launch seen from space

The perspective on this is quite novel.
Screen capture from video posted by Twitter user Dafeng Cao.
Key Takeaways
  • We’ve all seen video footage of rocket launches, but this one is spectacularly different: it was filmed from space.
  • Watch the launch and how small it looks from so-called “God’s view”.

We’ve all seen several shots of rocket launches from various locations — Cape Canaveral, Houston, Punta Indio, in Argentina, among others. But how many of us have seen such things from space?

Now, you can.

China’s Jilin-1 satellite, orbiting 332 miles (535 km) above the Earth, recorded the launching of an OS-X1 suborbital rocket this past weekend. Developed by the private Chinese company OneSpace, the rocket ascended from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert. It was a test of its solid fuel boosters, and it’s an incredible shot.

Truly god view, Jilin-1 video satellite shot @OneSpace01 OS-X1 suborbital rocket’s launch at JSLC this noon.
— dafeng cao (@dafengcao) September 7, 2018

It's the second launch by OneSpace (the first was back in May of this year) and it was made possible by private funding. That, however, was possible because government officials in China officially welcomed private development of space endeavors starting in 2014. That same effort spawned the company, Chang Guang Satellite, whose satellite captured the video. The company has five other video satellites in orbit now, with more scheduled by the end of the year.

OneSpace expects 10 more rocket missions in 2019, company founder Shu Chang said in May, including its first to make it beyond suborbital: The OS-M. “I hope we can become one of the biggest small-satellite launchers in the world," he said.

Here's the same launch, but from the perspective on the ground:


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