Films like Gravity and Interstellar have raised the bar for what audiences expect to see when rockets are launched into space. NASA has always taken stunning photographs of its missions and launches, and now it is stepping up its game with ultra-high definition footage by introducing NASA TV UHD, which was first announced in September. During a commercial resupply launch by Orbital to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida earlier this month, NASA and Harmonic used six 4K cameras to capture almost every step of the preparation and launch process in immaculate detail to create an experience that is arguably better than witnessing the event in person.
The footage, which was posted to YouTube, has quality options starting at 144p and going up to 4K (2160p) with a frame rate of 60fps. The HD options (720p, 1080p, and 1440p) are also 60fps, but the 4K setting makes every second of the footage pop off of your computer screen—that is, if your connection can handle it. Watch above as the scientists hoist and assemble the Cyngnus Spacecraft before the countdown and slow-motion lift-off, which provides a beautifully clear look at all the smoke and flames involved in sending rockets to space.