The launch of Soyuz TMA-19M seen from 113 m by an automatic camera – standing this close to 274 tonnes of rocket fuel would not be a good idea.
ESA’s photographer Stephane Corvaja placed five cameras near Baikonur’s pad 1 and set them to fire in burst mode 10 seconds before the estimated liftoff time.
In the spacecraft on top of this rocket were ESA astronaut Tim Peake, NASA astronaut Tim Kopra and commander Yuri Malenchenko.
Liftoff was exactly on time at 11:03 GMT on 15 December, allowing us to witness the launch at unsafe distances through the camera lens.
The launch marks the start of Tim Peake’s six-month Principia mission on the International Space Station running over 30 scientific experiments for ESA.