The ESA's Latest Rocket Launch Would Make Any Visual FX Team Jealous

Who needs fancy special effects when you've got real life? Arianespace just released an exhilarating onboard camera view of the recent Soyuz ST-A rocket launch carrying the the Sentinel-1A satellite into orbit. Watch the whole thing from start to finish.

Highlights of this launch include the Soyuz first stage separation (boosters B, V, G, and D separation) at the 2:25 mark, the fairing separation at 2:45, the second stage and third stage rear section separation starting at 3:15, the third stage and Fregat intermediate bay separation plus engine ignition at 3:35 (which is way cool), and the Sentinel-1A separation itself at the 4:20 mark.

Here's a ground-view replay of the Sentinel-1A liftoff on a Soyuz launcher from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST) on April 3rd, 2014.

Here's more about the mission from the ESA:

Sentinel-1A is the first in a fleet of ESA satellites poised to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to Europe's Copernicus programme.

Designed as a two-satellite constellation — Sentinel-1A and -1B — the Sentinel-1 mission uses an advanced radar instrument to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth's surface. The data will benefit numerous services, including the monitoring of Arctic sea-ice extent, the surveillance of the marine environment, the monitoring of land surface for motion risks and mapping to support humanitarian aid and crisis situations.