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Fire all retro-rockets! Perfectly-timed photography

Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, September 15, 2013, 1:35 PM -

Firing all retro rockets!

This sharp shot of a Russian Soyuz capsule touching down in Kazakhstan last week is the perfect example of how, in photography, timing is crucial.

That huge burst of flame beneath the space capsule comes from its retro-rockets, joining forces with that parachute to cushion the force of the Soyuz's impact when it hit the ground.

But the burst is lightning-quick. Take a close look at the video below (at around the 0:12 mark) to see how fast it happens:

The impeccable shot up top was taken from a nearby helicopter, and was NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day on September 14.

Aboard the capsule were the three members of the International Space Station's Expedition 36, Commander Pavel Vinogradov and flight engineers Chris Cassidy and Alexander Misurkin, back from a five-month visit to the station.

They returned to Earth on September 11.

For stunning video of the weather in the skies above, check out our online galleries.

Frog photobombs NASA's LADEE launch

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