Yesterday, the European Space Agency successfully launched the space observatories Herschel and Planck. Today, they released two cool videos of the event: one was taken by the spacecraft itself and shows the Planck payload moving away from Herschel.
The other video was taken by a one-meter tracking 'scope in the Canary Islands, and shows the two spacecraft together with the Sylda launch vehicle gliding across the sky a few hours after the two observatories separated from the vehicle:
Whoa, that's cool. The two bright objects are Herschel and Planck, and the dimmer one is the Sylda.
I love love love that this type of imagery is becoming available. It certainly helps engineers on the ground characterize the launch and trajectory of the spacecraft, but it's also a visceral reminder that humanity has left its footprint in space. May many more join them.
Credit: ESA. Tip o' the payload shroud to Douglas Scott for letting me know I had the timing wrong initially; the animation was made hours after separation, not minutes.