Who needs fancy special effects when you've got real life? Arianespace just released an exhilarating onboard camera view of the recent Soyuz ST-A rocket launch carrying the the Sentinel-1A satellite into orbit. Watch the whole thing from start to finish.

Highlights of this launch include the Soyuz first stage separation (boosters B, V, G, and D separation) at the 2:25 mark, the fairing separation at 2:45, the second stage and third stage rear section separation starting at 3:15, the third stage and Fregat intermediate bay separation plus engine ignition at 3:35 (which is way cool), and the Sentinel-1A separation itself at the 4:20 mark.

Here's a ground-view replay of the Sentinel-1A liftoff on a Soyuz launcher from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana at 21:02 GMT (23:02 CEST) on April 3rd, 2014.

Here's more about the mission from the ESA:

Sentinel-1A is the first in a fleet of ESA satellites poised to deliver the wealth of data and imagery that are central to Europe's Copernicus programme.

Designed as a two-satellite constellation — Sentinel-1A and -1B — the Sentinel-1 mission uses an advanced radar instrument to provide an all-weather, day-and-night supply of imagery of Earth's surface. The data will benefit numerous services, including the monitoring of Arctic sea-ice extent, the surveillance of the marine environment, the monitoring of land surface for motion risks and mapping to support humanitarian aid and crisis situations.