November’s full moon was the closest and brightest “supermoon” since 1948. NASA captured a stunning video of the giant, glowing moon as it rose over the Soyuz spacecraft, which will carry three crewmembers to the International Space Station Thursday (Nov. 17).
Photographers with NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which oversees human spaceflight activities, shot this incredible view of the “supermoon” rising just minutes after sunset on Monday (Nov. 14) at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Because the full moon was about 17,000 miles (27,000 kilometers) closer to Earth than it is on average, it appeared 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.
On Monday, just hours before moonrise, a train towed the Soyuz MS-03 rocket from the Integration Facility to the launchpad. There the rocket was lifted to its upright position just in time to set the scene for a picture-perfect super-moonrise. [‘Supermoon’ Photos: The Closest Full Moon Until 2034 in Pictures]
The mission, named Expedition 50, includes NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson, Russian cosmonaut Oleg Navitskiy and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet. The team will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome and head for the International Space Station on Thursday at 3:20 p.m. EST (2020 GMT, or 2:20 a.m. Nov. 18 Baikonur time).
Pesquet will be the first French astronaut to travel to the space station, while Whitson and Navitskiy are veteran space travelers. The three will spend six months inside the orbiting laboratory, where they will conduct about 250 science experiments not possible on Earth.