Gopher Launched To Stardom In Rocket Video

A video of a gopher living under a rocket launch pad in Kazakhstan has become a new internet hit.

The YouTube video called "He lives at Baikonur cosmodrome" has been watched by more than 140,000 people - with 50,000 viewing it on Wednesday night alone.

The footage was shot by a cameraman working for the official Russian space agency.

He left his camera near to the gopher's hole while preparing for another rocket launch at the world-famous Baikonur site.

The cosmodrome is the only site for spacecraft bound for the International Space Station.

The confused animal can be seen inspecting the camera - at one point trying to bite the lens. At other times the creature is seen staring at the launch pad and ducking vehicles travelling overhead.

A trio of Russian, Japanese and US astronauts blasted off from Baikonur aboard a Soyuz spaceship for a four-month mission on the ISS on Sunday.

Moscow hopes successful Baikonur launches will help to restore confidence in its once-pioneering space programme after a string of launch failures last year.

These included the failure of a mission to return samples from the Martian moon Phobos.