A stunning timelapse showing the starry sky at a rocket launch site


It’s hard to go wrong on a star-filled sky schedule, but throw them into the impressive features of the rocket launch area and you’ll end up with something really pretty special.

A beautiful timelapse (from above) recently released by the European Space Agency (ESA) captures the magnificent starry sky over its space gate in French Guiana, South America.

The video begins with a spectacular perspective of the Milky Way before showing other dazzling scenes that include various parts of ESA’s launch equipment.

“Imagine yourself stepping out of a launcher assembly building or standing on a launch pad in front of a 90-foot-high mobile rack to watch the stars,” ESA says in a message accompanying the video.

The site launches Europe’s new-generation rocket, the heavy-duty Ariane 6.

Ariane 6 consists of two versions, the A62 with two attachable amplifiers and the A64 with four. Just over 60 meters away, the Ariane 6 is at about the same altitude as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which this weekend set a new flight record.

Which of the two versions is used depends on the nature of the task. For example, the A62 Ariane 6 rocket can launch payloads of 4,000 to 7,000 kg, while the A64 can payloads of 24,000 to 35,300 pounds (11,000 to 16,000 kg).

ESA’s next-generation rocket weighs almost 900 tonnes when launched at full payload, a weight described by the European Space Agency as “roughly equivalent to one and a half Airbus A380s”.

The video below shows what a typical Ariane 6 task could look like.

The Ariane 6 guard on top of the rocket is 20 meters long and 5.4 meters in diameter. The component recently arrived at the launch site and will be tested before the first voyage into space.

The new rocket was scheduled to launch its first-ever launch in 2020, but various delays – including those caused by the coronavirus pandemic – have delayed the operation until next spring.

In the meantime, if the ESA video has inspired you to try your own star-filled timelapse, this video tells you everything you need to know.

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