The “Orbital Planes” series documents 30 years of the space shuttle program

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Roland Miller is a photographer who has focused his lens on US space exploration programs for the past 30 years. His latest series and his latest book, Orbital planes, is a visual presentation of the entire journey of several decades.

Miller’s complete set of photos will be encompassed in a 200-page photo book titled Orbital planes: a personal vision of the space shuttle and will be released in the fall of 2022. It is published by Damiani Editore in Bologna, Italy.

He says the book is a visual presentation of his journey documenting and interpreting the space shuttle, including orbiters, rockets, and manufacturing, testing and launch facilities located in the United States. Along with the photos are his accounts of interactions with the space shuttle program and its personnel.

Umbilical panel T-0 port side
Space Shuttle Endeavor
STS-134 OPF to VAB Rollover
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
External tank and SRB “Stack”, STS-133
Upper Bay 3
Vehicle assembly building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Start belly view
Discovery of the space shuttle, STS-133
launch pad 39A
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

“I approached this topic in a hybrid style of documentary and abstract imagery to tell a more complete story,” he says. “My hope is that Orbital planes will give the reader their own take on the space shuttle, the technology and the facilities that helped it fly.

Miller began documenting the Space Shuttle program when he was teaching photography at a college near the Kennedy Space Center, and in 2008 put significant and focused efforts into documenting the final years of the program. He says that Orbital planes is the result of this work and contains images from this 30-year period, with a focus on the last years of the program before its decommissioning.

RSS canceled
Discovery of the space shuttle, STS-133
launch pad 39A
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Launch of STS-129
Space Shuttle Atlantis
Roof of the vehicle assembly building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Commander’s Console
Space Shuttle Endeavor
Orbiter 2 processing facility
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

In order to offset the costs of producing the book and to offer prints of selected images from the project, Miller launched a Kickstarter for the project. As part of the crowdfunding campaign, support options include signed copies of the Orbital planes book, pictures from the book in a variety of sizes, and copies of Miller’s other two space photography books: Abandoned in Place: Preserving the History of American Space and Interior Space: A Visual Exploration of the International Space Station, the latter co-written with the Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli.

Interior space was successfully funded on Kickstarter in 2020.

Flag and fuselage wing
Discovery of the space shuttle
Vehicle assembly building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Rear with tail cone
Discovery of the space shuttle
Vehicle assembly building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

The completed book will be printed on what Miller describes as high quality paper and will measure 11.7 x 9.8 inches, bound with 200 pages and 150 color photos. All books sold through the Kickstarter will be signed copies. All reward prints will be printed on high quality archival paper with pigment inks and will also be signed.

Several reward levels are available for the book which starts at $ 55 and goes up to $ 1,500, all of which can be viewed at the Orbital planes Kickstarter.

ISS airlock and hatch
Discovery of the space shuttle
Orbiter 1 treatment facility
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Exhaust port detail
Space Shuttle Main Engine Testing
A2 test bench
NASA Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

Disclaimer: Be sure to do your own research on any crowdfunding projects you plan to support. While our goal is to only share legitimate and trustworthy campaigns, there is always a real chance that you could lose your money when you support a crowdfunded project.


Image credits: All photos are by Roland Miller and used with permission.


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