[Video] Like a phoenix taking flight through the starry sky, watch the Epsilon rocket launch from main island of Okinawa

January 21, 2018 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Hiroko Sato, Style Editor

A shining cloud racing through the sky like a phoenix.

The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully launched their small-engine Epsilon-3 rocket January 18.

A fantasy-like video of the launch showing the space-bound rocket and the shining cloud trailing it has gained a lot of attention.

The video of the launch was recorded and edited by filmmaker and star photographer Kagaya.

After capturing the launch, Kagaya uploaded the 13-second video to Facebook that afternoon; as of January 21, the video had over 760 shares and 39,000 views.

According to Kagaya, the video was taken from Ogimi village in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island.

The video was recorded by taking photos in continuous shooting mode using three mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras (MILC), which were then linked together.

Racing through the air like a phoenix (Photo by Kagaya)


The photos were taken over a nine-minute window from 6:09-6:18 a.m., and were edited to play in sequence at 30-times normal speed, resulting in the 13-second video that was released.


“The afternoon before, I became excited once I made the decision to go,” said Kagaya. Despite being far away from the rocket’s launching point in Kagoshima, Kagaya thought, “I would be able to see the rocket’s ascension from the side,” and decided on watching and photographing the launch from the main island of Okinawa. After arriving in Okinawa, racing to the spot in a rental car praying for clear skies, the shoot was a success.

“It was the first time I had seen this kind of backdrop, so I ended up having to do a lot of adjusting on location.”


“The rocket flash was fairly bright, and even reflected off of the water.

Even though the colors weren’t as strong as they were in the photographs, when I saw it with my eyes I knew.

I could hear a whooshing sound coming from the direction of the rocket. Due to the distance from the rocket, the sound should have come quite a bit after, but I heard it right then. I’m not sure why.”


Now, please enjoy the magnificent, fantasy-like video of the Epsilon-3 rocket launch.


(English translation by T&CT and Sam Grieb)


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