The relief was at a peak following the successful launch of a Soyuz rocket in the direction of the ISS, December 3rd. After a first launch that ended in failure on October 11th, three new astronauts were able to reach the International Space Station safely. Their flight was immortalized by astronaut Alexander Gerst, directly from space.
Shot from space
Presented in the form of an accelerated effect called "time-lapse", the video posted on social networks by Alexander Gerst on December 5th is breathtaking. As the ISS rotates around the Earth, the thin white line marking the trajectory of the rocket is gradually distinguished. This trail of condensation twists under the effect of winds before blooming into a huge translucent flower as the Earth's atmosphere shrinks.
"Our friends are on the way," adds the astronaut in the commentary of the video. "I still can't imagine humans are traveling through the dark immensity at the end of this isolated white band." He himself already completed this trip twice, in June of this year, and earlier in 2014.
Gerst is preparing his return to Earth for December 20th, with his two colleagues Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Sergey Prokopyev. The crew was to be joined by astronauts Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin with the take-off on 11th October. However, following the failure of this flight, they have to wait for the next mission to meet their replacements.
These will be Oleg Kononenko, Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques, who have since made it on board the ISS. They will be joined by Hague and Ovchinin, as well as a new colleague, Christina Hammock Koch, on a launch on February 28th, 2019. Let's hope that it'll also be the subject of a beautiful video.