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Astronaut snaps eerie photo of 'space angel' while orbiting Earth in space station

An astronaut has taken a picture of what looks like a 'space angel' while orbiting Earth.

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti snapped the Russian Soyuz launch last Wednesday (September 21).

From her vantage point on the International Space Station (ISS), the trails left by the crewed flight sparked the imagination of some observers.

Amanda Kooser, tech expert for CNET website, compared it to an "angelic figure, wings spread, ascending toward orbit".

While the IFLScience blog described it as a "great swooping space angel".

Another online commentator posted: "Wow' almost looks like a scene from a 1960s space movie. Doesn't look real. Beautiful, but unreal looking."

European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti aboard the space station (NASA / SWNS)

Astronaut Cristoforetti, who will soon take on the role of commander of the International Space Station, wrote: "We had a spectacular view of the Soyuz launch!

"Sergey, Dmitry and Frank will come knocking on our door in just a couple of hours looking forward to welcoming them to their new home!"

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio was travelling to the ISS along with Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin.

Cristoforetti will officially take over from fellow Expedition 67 crew member on Wednesday (NASA / SWNS)

Cristoforetti will officially take over from fellow Expedition 67 crew member, Russian Cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

A traditional handover ceremony, which centres around the symbolic passing of a key from the previous commander, will take place on Wednesday (September 28).

Soyuz is a series of spacecraft which has been in service since the 1960s, having made more than 140 flights.

The trail has been described as an "angelic figure, wings spread, ascending toward orbit" (Samantha Cristoforetti/ESA/SWNS)

The Soyuz MS-22 aircraft launch saw the first "crew swap" agreement since before the end of the space shuttle program more than 15 years ago.

The craft took flight on a Soyuz-2.1a rocket from Site 31 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

After a nine-minute ascent into orbit, the crew set off to rendezvous with the station, arriving at 1.06 p.m. EDT (5.06pm GMT), docking their Soyuz to the Rassvet mini-research module after circling Earth twice.

At 3.35 pm EDT (7.35pm GMT), the hatch was opened and the crew entered the ISS.

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