Category Archives: NASA

GRAIL moonshot launch






Shot the GRAIL moonshot Atlas launch this past weekend….well, actually I didn’t.

Let me explain. I set my remote camera’s out on Wednesday so that they would capture the launch on Thursday morning at 8:33. We are allowed to set cameras up the day before and have to leave them out until about 3 hours after the actual launch. NASA has to clear the pad and make sure the surrounding area is “Safe” before they let us back out to retrieve our gear.
Well, Thursday night it rained as hard as it has all year, and the gear got totally drenched.
I went out to the Press Site to shoot the launch with my 400 2.8 and a 70-200 on a Bogen Magic Arm… the weather didn’t cooperate though and the launch was scrubbed due to high winds about 3 miles up in the sky. NO GO!!
I was planning on going back out to shoot the launch Thursday morning but that was cancelled on Wednesday evening at 10:40…..and it rained as well.
Luckily I go a bit overboard and cover all of my gear with protective bags and such, due to the rain and dew.
Well, Friday came and a few of us, (those hanging in the media area) were allowed back out to check our remotes and clean our lenses.. Mine was ok but there were some cameras that didn’t fare too well…..the rain had damaged a few lenses and bodies.
Saturday came and the launch was expected to go at around 8:30 but that too was scrubbed due to weather. Though the sky was blue, those danged winds just wouldn’t quit, the second launch window was in jeopardy….
meanwhile, back in Orlando I was preparing to shoot my 400 on a cropped body with a 2x extender from my front porch. All in all it’s about 50 miles from my house and I wasn’t sure if I could even see the rocket through the building clouds.
Now, let me explain, I had made a deal with Alan Walters and Paul Hennessey to pick my gear up if I couldn’t make it to the actual launch on Saturday. I have been travelling a lot lately and needed to spend some time with my family. I decided to miss the launch with a backup plan in place……it seems to have worked.
Though I would have loved to have shot the launch in person, I gambled and took the chance that the remotes would cover me! I don’t recommend this to others who are on assignment, but in this case, I was over the moon!
To see more: log onto www.apimages.com and search Grail Moonshot

Juno/Atlas V Jupiter trip






I filmed the Juno/Atlas V rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Friday. It was a “blast”……sorry, I know, really bad pun! You can punch me the next time you see me….

Anyways, I set out 2 remote triggers (thanks Alan Walters for your loaner) with the hopes that at least one would fire this time, and boy did I get lucky…..
The mission itself is an incredible dream, to send a rocket to Jupiter to try and find out some really cool stuff about the planet and other info that is way above my pay grade, all in all it will take 5 years to discover cool things before it suicide bombs itself into the planet….never to be seen or heard from again….
Let me say, the fact that scientists can determine how to get this ship there in the first place is downright incredible, but to get it off of the ground in the first place in mindblowing. This sucker fired off after about 50 minutes in delays but when it did the earth seemed to stand still. The power of this beast can not be shared, you had to see it to believe it….and I did, along with other photographers from the top of the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC. What a day!
The images you see here are what I shot and I can’t wait to go back and shoot every type of rocket NASA puts up, it truly is inspiring and dramatic at the same time and the imagery is spectacular….When the smoke clears and the shadow of the trailing smoke highlights the sky, you realize just how lucky we are to see such sights. I am very thankful to the volunteers and NASA workers who allow us to snap memories everytime one launches…….
Until next time, enjoy.

Shuttle Atlantis landing


So here I sit in my hotel room, the Mandalay Bay, in Las Vegas waiting to finish the video edit for a client of mine. It has been a hectic 3 days so far and though they are very pleased with what I have captured so far, my mind is mush…..

The space shuttle Atlantis lands in a few hours back in Florida and I don’t leave Vegas until tomorrow afternoon. Safe to say that I won’t make it to the landing pad….and there is no “next time” to get the desired images……guess what….life goes on. There are times when you really want to be there and unfortunately there are times when you just can’t. This is the way the photo industry works, and the sooner you figure that out, the less stressed you will be. Trust Me!
To all of my colleagues who will be there, I wish you nothing but the best. Get the exposure right and make history, you’ve obviously put in the time and deserve to capture beautiful images. Make us proud.
I just came across a cool shot of mine that got picked up today: cool slideshow here-
http://foxnewsinsider.com/2011/07/20/slideshow-nasas-space-shuttle-program/#23

President orders attack on Osama Bin Laden

I had no idea what this photo would mean when I took it on Friday.
I was hoping to photograph President Barack Obama when he visited the Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Center after the announced scrub of Endeavour’s STS-134 launch. The first lady and his daughters were with the President to watch the launch and to speak for a few moments with Gabby Giffords, the Congresswoman who was shot in Arizona and the wife of shuttle Endeavour Commander Kelly.
The motorcade arrived about 30 minutes after 5 helicopters began hovering around the property, and it was past us in about 10 seconds. Of course Barack was on the opposite side of us and Michelle waved as their cars drove by.
About an hour later, we all hoped the motorcade would leave in the same direction and they did….I pressed the button on the camera and nailed the image we see here!
Today, just two days later, I learned that just hours after these images were taken, President Obama would approve a military strike in Pakistan on Osama Bin Laden which would result in the death of the terrorist and mastermind of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers.
Sitting here typing this, I admit it feels weird to think of all the problems Obama has to deal with on a daily basis. Perhaps I should feel lucky with how much pressure I don’t have to endure every hour that I am awake…..photography doesn’t seem that hard anymore.
More pics here: http://alexmenendez.photoshelter.com/
Image taken on April 29, 2011. (Photo Credit: Alex Menendez)

Shuttle Endeavour Roll Out


Shuttle Endeavour rolled out last night from the Vehicle Assembly Building and headed over to Launch Pad 39A. This is mission STS-134 and is scheduled to blast off on April 19, 2011. I had the really cool chance to photograph this from inside the VAB and was so glad that I drove all the way to Kennedy Space Center and did it. I love the way the shuttle lights up with the Xenon lights hitting it and couldn’t get over how big the building and the Endeavour actually are.

The space program at KSC seems to be winding down, (which sucks), and this is the last ever launch of Endeavour, so I will put out as many remote cameras as I can and pray for a successful mission.
Thanks to all who helped me at the VAB and to all of the folks at NASA.

Shuttle Discovery Final Flight


I had the coolest time shooting the final liftoff of the Space Shuttle Discovery this past week. With all the hype and worry surrounding the NASA shuttle program, this was indeed one cool shoot that I am very appreciative of being able to cover. Not everyone gets the chance to stand this close to a rocket and I will never forget the feeling of it taking off.

I set a Canon 7d remote camera set up in the swamps facing a waterway with a sound trigger to activate the camera upon liftoff. The trigger turns the camera on from its sleep mode about 10 minutes before the scheduled liftoff time. The “awake” camera automatically starts snapping images when the sound trigger hears a loud noise. The shuttle is loud when the boosters fire up and this starts the image capture.
I have a lot of people to thank in helping me learn the ropes on this type of shooting but I want to put a big shout out to Don Montague and Red Huber. They know what they are doing and are not afraid or too stuck up to share their knowledge!
By the way, we went to retrieve our camera’s at about 10p.m. in the pitch black and we encountered monster mosquitos and a rather large alligator in the water keeping watch on my tripod. It’s always an adventure here in Florida.
More pics: http://alexmenendez.photoshelter.com/

Space X Falcon 9 with Dragon





Today SpaceX launched its Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket at 10:43 AM EST from the Air Force Station at Cape Canaveral. This is a very significant step towards getting the US space program back on its feet after the Space Shuttle program ends.

I was very fortunate to have people like Red Huber and Don Montague guide me in the proper techniques of setting up remote cameras for this launch. I will be forever indebted to them for their patience and expertise.
This was by far one of the coolest setups I have done to date and the space program just blows my mind!
I will be featuring a story on rockets and ‘rocket clubs” in the upcoming issue of Orlando Sports Mag right after Christmas. I will keep you posted.

Shuttle is a go!



Wow,

Where has the time gone? I know, I know,….I have been VERY busy trying to run 3 businesses, shoot, travel, edit and play with my 2 youngsters…..all while trying to sell more business. If you are in the media/ad business then you know exactly what I am talking about. Anyhoo, here comes the first of what should be a slew of updates coming your way soon, I promise. Lets start with a few very quick posts on the Shuttle-129 mission that I shot about a month ago. I am doing a story on Astronaut Leland Melvin, a former NFL football player and his training methods… Look for the article in the January issue of OrlandoSportsMag.
Here are a few quick snaps that I edited for your viewing pleasure. I will get caught up over the Holidays….enjoy!