This Is How The Gaia Spacecraft Went to Space In 2 Minutes

The European Space Agency released this nice time-lapse video today of the Soyuz flight VS06.

The Gaia space observatory lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on 19 December 2013. This resulting film shows Gaia's sunshield deployment test, the transfer of the Soyuz from the assembly building to the launch pad, and the eventual lift off.

Gaia is an ESA mission to chart a three-dimensional map of the Milky Way, revealing the composition, formation, and evolution of our galaxy:

Gaia will provide unprecedented positional and radial velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce a stereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars in our Galaxy and throughout the Local Group. This amounts to about 1 per cent of the Galactic stellar population.

Copyright credit: ESA–S. Corvaja, M. Pedoussaut, 2013