Watch inside Soyuz as it blasts astronauts (and toys) into space

Astronauts sit in seats worse than coach on journeys to the International Space Station (ISS). A video released by the European Space Agency (ESA) on Monday proves it.

It shows the launch earlier this month of Soyuz MS-09 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Interior cameras offer a view of NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, Roscosmos commander Sergei Prokopyev, and ESA astronaut and flight engineer Alexander Gerst cooped up inside the Soyuz spacecraft as it heads toward the space-based outpost.

The video also includes the first-ever shots from cameras fixed to the exterior of the 50-meter-tall Soyuz rocket.

“The intense launch lasts less than 10 minutes whereby the Soyuz spacecraft is propelled 1,640 km (1020 miles) and gains 210 km (130 miles) altitude,” ESA said in notes accompanying the video. “Every second for nine minutes, the spacecraft accelerates 50 km/h (31 mph) on average as the rocket’s boosters burn their fuel and are discarded.”

As the astronauts experience forces of up to 4g (four times Earth’s pull), the Soyuz commander uses a stick to press buttons on the control panel as it’s too far to reach with his hand. The bags above their heads are full of supplies for the ISS, with ESA noting that “every bit of space is used” aboard the tiny spacecraft.

Oh, and you may be wondering what those little furry toys are doing there, dangling in front of the astronauts. Besides acting as mascots and good luck charms, they also offer an easy way for the crew to see when the spacecraft is in orbit, as they’ll start floating about in the weightless conditions. You can see it happen toward the end of the video.

Textbook launch

It was a textbook launch, with the Soyuz rocket propelling the astronauts to their cruising speed of around 28,800 km/h (17,895 mph).

But it was a challenging trip for the trio as they had to spend two days stuck inside the spacecraft as it orbited Earth a total of 34 times before arriving at the space station on Friday, June 8.

A faster 4-orbit/6-hour or a 2-orbit/3-hour journey is usually possible, but space station positioning requirements to ensure a daytime landing for the departing Soyuz MS-07 crew earlier in the launch week prevented the possibility of a speedier trip for the new crew, SpaceFlight.com reported.

Below are the key moments of the launch, with timings shown according to the timestamp at the bottom right of the video:

-00:12 Launch command issued
-00:10 Engine turbopumps at flight speed
-00:05 Engines at maximum thrust
00:00 Launch
+1:54 Separation of emergency rescue system
+1:57 First stage separation
+2:38 Fairing separation
+4:48 Second stage separation
+4:58 Tail adapter separation
+8:45 Third stage engine cut off having arrived in orbit
+8:49 Soyuz separation, deploy solar arrays and antennae

Movies & TV

Oscar-winning FX master explains why ‘First Man’ is a giant leap for filmmaking

Paul Lambert, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on First Man, reveals the innovative techniques that blended old footage with modern movie magic to make the Apollo 11 mission to the moon resonate with audiences 50 years later.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX nails its first launch and landing of 2019, but job cuts loom

SpaceX has nailed its first launch and landing of 2019 with a mission that deployed more satellites for Virginia-based Iridium Communications. But the success was soured somewhat by reports of upcoming job losses at the company.
Cars

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.
Smart Home

Here’s everything Amazon and its partners announced for Alexa at CES

Amazon Alexa is rocking CES 2019. After selling millions of Echo and Dot smart speakers during the 2018 holiday season, extending its reach everywhere, Amazon has announced a ton of new partnerships with device manufacturers.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.