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A satellite captured a video of its fellow satellites rocketing to space

A satellite captured a video of its fellow satellites rocketing to space


Up, up, and away!

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Video: Planet Labs

A shoebox-sized satellite caught a glimpse of a Soyuz rocket launch that sent 73 satellites flying into space last week. Snapping one photo every second, the tiny Dove satellite caught two and a half minutes of the Soyuz rocket’s flight — starting with liftoff.

The timing was serendipitous. San Francisco-based satellite company Planet learned only five hours before the launch that its Dove satellite could be in the right place at the right time to catch the rocket’s flight on camera. The company maneuvered the little satellite over the launchpad in Kazakhstan. Traveling at more than 15,000 miles per hour, the Dove shot enough pictures for the company to assemble the stills into a short video.

The launch itself was a space-bound ride-share. The Soyuz rocket ferried a stack of 73 satellites into space for several different companies. One of the satellites was the massive Kanopus-V-IK, which is intended to spot forest fires on Earth’s surface. Another 48 of the satellites were a new flock of Doves for Planet, which deployed into a Sun-synchronous orbit.

The video has been sped up, so you have to watch closely or you’ll miss the tiny rocket shooting through the clouds entirely. Fortunately for us, though, the Dove’s sharp shooting managed to catch the entire thing.