1st Annual Photo Contest: Spacecraft

The 2013 contest is now closed

Mark Widick
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
Last flight of Space Shuttle Discovery
Kennedy Space Center, Florida • Photographed February 2011

"I am in many ways, a product of the American space program," says Widick. "My hometown was Cocoa Beach. My father was an engineer for NASA. The early astronauts were frequent visitors to my backyard for barbeques and gatherings. I became interested in photography due to the influence of the legendary Life magazine photographer Ralph Morse. I met him just prior to Apollo 11. [When] space shuttle Discovery completed the last liftoff of a 39-flight career, I had been granted access inside the Pad 39A perimeter fence, and decided to place a Vietnam-era 190-degree panoramic camera alongside the southwest end of the concrete pad. The effect was to capture in great detail the pad, shuttle Discovery and frame it in the main engine exhaust, which, due to the sweeping of the camera, appears above Discovery as she heads on her last trip into space and the ISS."
Dustin Penman
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
The final flight of the space shuttle Endeavor on September 21, 2012 as it rode "piggy back" on a Boeing 747 over the Golden Gate Bridge.
San Francisco, California • Photographed September 2012

"September 21, 2012 was a beautiful sunny day," says Penman. "I scouted out my location for 90 minutes before Endeavour flew over. I wanted to find some green foliage to fill in the lower foreground rather than the black asphalt that surrounded me. I knew I was going to witness something special."
Jim Wise
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
High above looking down in the VAB Atlantis can be seen prior to rollout for STS-135. This will be the final space shuttle launch
Kennedy Space Center, Florida • Photographed May 2011

"It was no easy task for me to gain access to this location on the crane at the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building," says Wise. "It took numerous emails and phone calls over months. This photograph was taken just hours prior to rollout to the launch pad for the final space shuttle flight and the end of an era."
Mike Killian
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
A sunrise goodbye to space shuttle Endeavour as she rides piggyback atop a modified NASA 747 SCA, making her way to southern CA for public display
KennedySpace Center, Florida • Photographed September 2012

"I captured this image of Endeavour's departure from Kennedy Space Center from the roof of NASA's 500+ foot tall Vehicle Assembly Building," says Killian. "To the workforce who—for 30 years—put their blood, sweat, and tears into flying the shuttle program this was a powerful farewell. As a photographer, I've visited Endeavour many times, and even had the opportunity to visit her flight deck—twice—both with the orbiter off and while powered up. Growing up, Endeavour was always my 'favorite' of the shuttle fleet, and was also the first shuttle I watched launch in person."
Sacha Meaden
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
Apollo 10 roll engines close up
London, England • Photographed September 2013

"This photograph was taken at the Science Museum in London, where the Apollo 10 Command Module—Charlie Brown—has been on display since 1976," says Meaden. "Apollo 10 was once part of the most advanced, complex machine ever built, and its scorched, blasted surface is the physical embodiment of the greatest journey of exploration undertaken by Man. I remember vividly as a child the first time I saw Charlie Brown when it went on public display. Now, nearly 40 years later and a parent myself, it is something I repeatedly take my own children to see."
Jodi Ledford
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
Space Shuttle Discovery launches from Kennedy Space Center, NASA
Indian River, Cocoa Beach, Florida • Photographed April 2010

"Living in central Florida," says Ledford, "shuttle launches were always one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Never before had I seen a shuttle produce such a spectacular gas trail. In this shot, moments before booster separation, Discovery looked like a comet producing a massively beautiful coma-like tail as it streaked across the early dawn sky."
Matt Cashore
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
The Space Shuttle discovery on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly, Virginia • Photographed September 2012

"I visited the Udvar-Hazy Center while I was in the Washington, D.C. area on other business," says Cashore. "It was my first time seeing a space shuttle up close, and I was more impressed with its size than I thought I would be. The symmetry of the grid-work on the ceiling caught my eye, so I tried laying flat on my back on the floor. Luckily the museum wasn't busy at the time."
John Stetson and Peter Stetson
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
International Space Station solar transit
Kettle Cove State Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine • Photographed March 2010

John Stetson first captured an International Space Station solar transit in 2006. This photograph was taken with his son Peter's help, on March 25, 2010. The transit duration was 0.62 seconds. "There were some cirrus clouds," says Stetson, "but more important the sky was steady (laminar flow), and the 'seeing' was remarkably good."
Michael Faust
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
The space shuttle Endeavour navigating the streets of L.A.
Los Angeles, California • Photographed October 2012

"Endeavour was being towed to the L.A. Science Museum from LAX airport through the streets of L.A.," says Faust. "Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. is a long street and the shuttle was visible as it dodged back and forth between the trees lining the boulevard. I wanted to show how careful the moving process was, within inches of obstacles along the way."
Jim Poppino
FINALIST: Spacecraft Category
The Space Shuttle Endeavour atop its carrier aircraft at Kennedy Space Center, awaiting its final departure for California
Kennedy Space Center, Florida • Photographed September 2012

"I have worked for the space shuttle program for 12 years," says Poppino. "My father worked for the program since 1984. I was one person with a small responsibility in a large team that sent humans into space on the only re-usable space vehicle ever built. Spending those last moments with Endeavour served as a means of closing a chapter not only in my career, but in American history."

Thank you to everyone who entered a photograph or voted for a favorite in our Readers' Choice category. See our 2013 winners here. The Civilian, People & Planes, and Military category finalists are found here. In February, we'll post information on our 2014 photo contest.

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