NASA unveils the winners of its 'Photographer of the Year' contest

NASA unveils the winners of its internal ‘Photographer of the Year’ contest celebrating the people behind the iconic images of US space centers

  • The esteemed competition celebrates the people behind the lenses at the government agency
  • Chris Gunn of the Goddard Space Flight Center was named the winner of the Places Category for his shot of a person standing facing a wall of HEPA filters in the Space Systems Development and Integration Facility
  • The winning Documentation snap, also taken by Gunn, captured the James Webb Space Telescope
  • First in the People Category was Harlen Capen for his photo of technicians in the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel  
  • Portrait Category winner Jordan Salkin snapped Tim Bencic with his invention, the tomography system 

NASA has unveiled the winners of its internal ‘NASA Photographer of the Year’ contest, recognizing the best shots by the agency’s own photographers in 2019.  

The esteemed competition celebrates the people behind the lenses at the government agency and showcases some of the historic moments at the space centers across the US. 

The winners of the four categories were announced on Twitter on June 3, along with the runners-ups. 

Chris Gunn of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland was named the well-deserved winner of the Places Category for his mesmerizing shot of a lone person standing facing a wall of HEPA filters in the center’s Space Systems Development and Integration Facility. 

It was a double celebration for Gunn, who was also crowned the winner of the Documentation Category for capturing NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. 

First place in the People Category went to Harlen Capen of the Langley Research Center for his photo of technicians in the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, while the Portrait Category went to Jordan Salkin of the Glenn Research Center for his image of Tim Bencic with his invention, the tomography system.   

First launched in 2018 by NASA’s head of mission imagery Maura White as a ‘friendly competition, bragging rights, and acknowledgement for being so crucial to NASA’s mission’, experts including astronaut Don Petit and the Photo Editor of Smithsonian’s Air & Space magazine Caroline Sheen lend their eyes and expertise to deciding who should take the coveted crowns.  

WINNER: A lone person stands facing the wall of HEPA filters in the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland’s Space Systems Development and Integration Facility, in this image captured by Chris Gunn – the well-deserved winner of the Places Category. The filters remove particles smaller than red blood cells meaning it is a thousand times cleaner than a hospital operating room

WINNER: Technicians are pictured working together to install equipment on the Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, in this shot taken by Harlen Capen of the Langley Research Center, who took home the prize for first place in the People Category

WINNER: The iventor of the tomography system, Tim Bencic, poses inside his brainchild – a system for studying icing on aircraft. Jordan Salkin of the Glenn Research Center was named the winner of the Portrait Category for taking the photo

WINNER: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is captured being prepared for integration onto the Spacecraft Element at the Goddard Space Flight Center, in the winning shot in the Documentation Category. The picture marked the second win this year for photographer Chris Gunn

RUNNER-UP: A beautiful sunset rises behind the Launch Complex 46 at the Kennedy Space Center during preparations for testing of the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system in this image captured by Tony Gray

RUNNER-UP: NASA astronaut Mike Fincke is pictured being readied by suit technicians ahead of an official portrait in his ‘Boeing Blue’ spacesuit, in this moment captured by Josh Valcarcel of the Johnson Space Center

RUNNER-UP: NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson takes a moment’s rest while dressed in her spacesuit before going under water in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in a portrait taken by Bill Ingalls

RUNNER-UP: Astronaut Reid Wiseman takes in his surroundings as he is about to be lowered into the pool-like Neutral Buoyancy Lab where astronauts practice for spacewalks in this moment captured by photographer Robert Markowitz

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