ISS Exp. 57 Cmdr. and ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst's Tweet today says:

Glad our friends are fine. Thanks to the rescue force of >1000 SAR professionals! Today showed again what an amazing vehicle the #Soyuz is, to be able to save the crew from such a failure. Spaceflight is hard. And we must keep trying for the benefit of humankind #Exp57 #SoyuzMS10

and it contains the image below. I've also added a cropped, enlarged and sharpened section for better viewing/discussion.

Does this in fact show the emergency return to Earth that happened today, seen from the ISS? If so, it must be at a fairly long focal length. Can someone explain the details (the two or three dots near the top, and the squiggly smoke)?

I understand that at the time of launch the site will be roughly under the ISS' orbit, but is this just a coincidence that the ISS just happened to pass over, or does that happen frequently as some result of phasing?

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    $\begingroup$ Based off of a quick Google Images search, the original source of this image is the tweet that you linked to today. Based on context, it's likely this was today's abort-to-ground launch. It looks to me -- an untrained space enthusiast who hasn't spent time analyzing this image -- like this was shortly after the first stage cutoff and second stage engine start. If I were to investigate further to give an actual answer, I'd compare it with the video that NASA released on YouTube earlier to see if I can match the times. I suspect, though, that this was before the second stage engine cut off. $\endgroup$
    – Ghedipunk
    Commented Oct 11, 2018 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is a photo of the MS-10 launch. This image also appears on Alexander's flickr page, with timestamp "October 11, 2018" and the title "Image of the Soyuz MS-10 launch as seen from the International Space Station".


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