Honorable Mention, Los Angeles Book Festival Book Award, Photography, 2013
Americans have been driven to explore beyond the horizon ever since the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. In the twentieth century, that drive took us to the moon and inspired dreams of setting foot on other planets and voyaging among the stars. The vehicle we built to launch those far journeys was the space shuttle—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. This fleet of reusable spacecraft was designed to be our taxi to earth orbit, where we would board spaceships heading for strange new worlds. While the shuttle program never accomplished that goal, its 135 missions sent more than 350 people on a courageous journey into the unknown.
Last Launch is a stunning photographic tribute to America’s space shuttle program. Dan Winters was one of only a handful of photographers to whom NASA gave close-range access to photograph the last launches of Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour. Positioning automatically controlled cameras at strategic points around the launch pad—some as close as seven hundred feet—he recorded images of take-offs that capture the incredible power and transcendent beauty of the blast that sends the shuttle hurtling into space. Winters also takes us on a visual tour of the shuttle as a marvel of technology—from the crew spaces with their complex instrumentation, to the massive engines that propelled the shuttle, to the enormous vehicle assembly building where the shuttles were prepared for flight.
Known for the broad range of subject matter he is able to interpret, Dan Winters has had his photographs published in Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, Time, Texas Monthly, Wired, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and many other national and international publications. Aperture published a book of his magazine work titled Dan Winters: Periodical Photographs. Winters has won over one hundred national and international awards from American Photography, Communication Arts, the Society of Publication Designers, PDN, the Art Directors Club of New York, and Life, among others, as well as the prestigious Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Magazine Photography and a world press photo award in the arts category. In 2003, he was honored by Kodak as a photo “Icon” in their biographical “Legends” series.
Based in Austin, Texas, Al Reinert is a film director, screenwriter, and producer, best known for producing and directing the Academy Award-nominated documentary For All Mankind about NASA's Apollo program. He cowrote the screenplays for Apollo 13 and other films.
A veteran of four space flights to the International Space Station, Mark Kelly was a captain in the United States Navy when he commanded the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour in May of 2011. With his wife, Gabrielle Giffords, he coauthored Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.
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