Antares rocket launch: History witnessed through a camera lens
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – Almost one hundred photographers were among the thousands of spectators watching the Antares Rocket launch Saturday morning at Wallops Island, witnessing history through a camera lens.
“It’s always amazing. Every time. It’s not what you see. It’s what you feel,” says Jim Genkins, a photographer with Falcon Press.
There’s always been a fascination with space even before the first man walked on the moon, people making an effort to document every step along the way. Fifty years later, that feeling of wonder and awe is still here.
“To put it mildly, I’ve never been to anything like this before in my life. So I’m exceedingly excited,” says Alfred “Woody” Poole, a Norfolk photographer.
Dozens of men and women arrived at Wallops Island with cameras and tripods in tow to get that perfect shot. “It is an adrenaline rush. That countdown and now we are a go and you’re looking to capture that exact moment of lift off,” says Genkins. “As that roar just rips right through you.”
It’s the same goal regardless of skill level or a camera’s price tag. “It runs a gamut from people with cell phones on tripods to people with $25,000 four and five hundred millimeter prime lenses made by Canon, Nikon,” says Poole.
Beginner or professional, the rarity of this experience touches everyone. “This is apparently, I was told, the closest anyone can get to the firing of a rocket in the United States. And I think we’re somewhere in the neighborhood of about two miles,” says Poole. “And I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. That part hasn’t sunk in yet.”
Just a few miles separating these photographers and a rocket being launched into outer space. “You watched it happen. It’s just something pretty amazing,” says Genkins.
Saturday’s launch comes exactly 19 years after the first crew arrived at the International Space Station. This is the first mission for Northrop Grumman’s latest contract with NASA. The company will fly a minimum of six missions to the International Space Station through the year 2024. The Cygnus spacecraft is set to stay at the I-S-S until January 13th.