Staff/About / Photographers
MIKE HOWARD – SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER
Mike Howard was born on Florida’s Space Coast in 1961, growing up on the beaches near the Kennedy Space Center when rockets first started to fly into space. As a small boy, one of the first photographs he took was in July 1969 – of the Apollo 11 launch to the Moon with his father’s Nikon.
With more than 20 years of professional photographic experience Howard has been published in various media including Florida Today, Air and Space Magazine and has worked with SpaceX and Space Florida as well as other news outlets. In 1998 his company started offering destination wedding photography services in the Cocoa Beach area and in 2005 Michael Howard Photography L.L.C. was formed. You can view his diverse images at Cocoa Beach Photography.
Starting with the launch of Apollo 15 in 1971, Mark Usciak began using his photographic talents to cover the space program. His efforts have garnered him multiple awards from Aviation Week & Space Technology’s photography contest, which he won in 1995, 1998 and 2003. His work has graced the halls of Congress as well as numerous magazines. Mark covered NASA’s shuttle program, since the very first liftoff – until the final wheel stop. He has now turned his trained eye to reporting new efforts to cede control of access to low-Earth-orbit to commercial companies as the space agency focuses on sending astronauts beyond the orbit of Earth for the first time in decades.
Jim Siegel comes from a business and engineering background, as well as a journalistic one. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University, an MBA from the University of Michigan, and executive certificates from Northwestern University and Duke University. Jim got interested in journalism in 2002. As a resident of Celebration, FL, Disney’s planned community outside Orlando, he has written and performed photography extensively for the Celebration Independent and the Celebration News. He has also written for the Detroit News, the Indianapolis Star, and the Northwest Indiana Times (where he started his newspaper career at age 11 as a paperboy). Jim is well known around Celebration for his photography, and he recently published a book of his favorite Celebration scenes. Jim has covered the Kennedy Space Center since 2006. His experience has brought a unique perspective to his coverage of first, the space shuttle Program, and now the post-shuttle era, as US space exploration accelerates its dependence on commercial companies. He specializes in converting the often highly technical aspects of the space program into contexts that can be understood and appreciated by average Americans.
Charles Twine has been actively photographing launches since 2011 (with shuttle missions STS-134, STS-135) but has had an working interest in space for many years prior to that.
Trained as an organic chemist, Twine holds a BS from Old Dominion University as well as an MS and PhD from the University Of North Carolina. Twine was also employed by the Research Triangle Institute (a not for profit think tank) in Research Triangle Park for 35 years. Worked on contracts with DOD, NIDA, DEA, NCI and CDC as well as some private companies. Most of his work dealt with the synthesis and radioisotopic labeling (C14, H3, P32,F18 and I125) of various compounds. During this work a photographic record of certain steps was made. Twine started scientific photography techniques in graduate school and continues to them to this day. Twine has had work published in Southern Living and Gourmet magazines as well as in books from Audubon and National Geographic. Twine has worked with SpaceFlight Insider since its inception, but decided to officially join SFI’s team of loyal contributors in 2016.
Andy Sokol earned a Bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering and a Master’s degree in Space Systems from Florida Institute of Technology. He dedicated the first nine years of his career working hands-on with NASA’s Space Shuttle fleet as an orbiter structures/airframe engineer. Photography was one of his hobbies during his education & career, and his unique visual perspectives of the space shuttle quickly became highly respected. As his portfolio grew & diversified, Andy formed TurboFox Photography in 2009 to provide fine art & portrait services. He participates in juried art shows across Florida, through which he has received multiple awards. See more of his work at TurboFox Photography.
Carleton Bailie has covered the launches and events relating to spaceflight along Florida’s Space Coast since 1986, when he was tapped to photograph the final launch of Space Shuttle Challenger on its final mission – STS-51L. Bailie has been interested in the space program since the flights of Project Mercury in 1961. Prior to joining SpaceFlight Insider, Bailie worked for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine – where no fewer than 12 of the magazine’s covers were graced with his imagery. Bailie estimates that he has photographer more than 400 launches in a career where he has worked for United Launch Alliance, Boeing and numerous others.
Mike is the Vice President of Development at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT), located in Melbourne, Florida. In his current role, Mike manages a team of fundraisers and is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to create partnerships with individuals, foundations and corporations. In addition to working with two former astronauts, Mike’s work at FIT has brought him close to some of the most exciting programs in spaceflight and space exploration today, from United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic to the James Webb Space Telescope. Mike has been directly involved in building programs and fundraising from individuals, foundations and corporations for nearly 20 years, with the last 10 of those years devoted to working with academic research and training programs at FIT, Case Western Reserve University and Yale.
Since moving to the Space Coast in 2012, Mike has taken full advantage of his proximity to Kennedy Space Center, viewing numerous launches as accredited media and has also participated in NASA Social events. Mike is a passionate photographer (with experience that dates back to actual film) and enjoys being able to turn his lens on the exciting equipment being built and launched from KSC. Some of his photos can be seen at his website and have been featured by USA Today, The Guardian, The Smithsonian Magazine, SpaceFlight Insider and The Weather Channel. His most recent project is a collection of spaceflight photos and writing titled “We Report Space”, published in July, 2016.
JACQUES VAN OENE
A native of the Netherlands, van Oene became ‘infected’ with the ‘space virus’ by an enthusiastic school teacher in 1981. Since 1994 he has been a freelance space photographer and writer for magazines and websites in Holland, Belgium and ‘Spaceflight’, the magazine of the British Interplanetary Society. van Oene is also the co-founder and CFO of SPACEPATCHES.NL. This Netherlands-based foundation currently produces all the official Soyuz crew patches for the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos. @jacqmans
Sean Costello is an avid learner and communicator, researching and translating life lessons from within the manned and unmanned space flight programs to augment his growing body of published articles, public presentations and on-location reporting. Costello is a strong believer in the potential of our next generation and works to convey the space flight story in a manner in which everyone can understand and relate. He caught the attention of SpaceFlight Insider’s founder, Jason Rhian, during several events hosted at Kennedy Space Center. Costello covers space-related events for the Group in Canada and abroad as a writer and photographer. @SeanInMotion
JUAN DIEGO DELAGARZA
Although Juan Diego Delagarza was born in California, he was raised in Brownsville, Texas – the new home for SpaceX’s latest launch site. Delagarza is a veteran of Desert Storm and a current U.S. Army reservist who works out of Ellington Field in Texas. Delagarza came to the attention of SFI from our partner org Astro 95 Media. Delagarza serves SpaceFlight Insider by providing still photography of selected events within the State of Texas. De La Garza photographed SCA905’s move from Ellington Airport to Space Center Houston as part of The Rise of INDEPENDENCE event which saw the shuttle replica placed atop the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft on Aug. 14, 2014. @JuanDeLaGarza1
Matthew Kuhns is an aerospace engineer living in California and enjoys capturing the beauty of the aerospace world with his camera. As an engineer he specializes in fuel & propulsion systems and as a photographer his internationally award-winning images are published in magazines and books. Kuhns was introduced to the founder of SpaceFlight Insider during the pre launch activities for SpaceX’s CRS-4 mission and was promptly brought on to the team as SFI’s California photographer. @Mmkuhns
CHRIS HETLAGE – ASTRONOMY
Chris Hetlage is co-founder of the Deerlick Observatory and runs the Imaging the Cosmos website. His stunning pictures of globular clusters, galaxies and solar phenomenon have captured the attention of NASA, with his working appearing on the space agency’s “Astronomy Picture of The Day.” Hetlage is SpaceFlight Insider‘s lead when it comes to astronomy. His work captured the eye of our staff, we asked him to join and he graciously accepted. Hetlage does not limit himself to just pictures of distant worlds and stars, he is also adept at shooting rockets carrying their payloads into the black. You can view more of his work here: Imaging the Cosmos. @chrishet55
JEREMY BECK – KOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA PHOTOGRAPHER
Jeremy Beck is a mechanical engineer currently living in Cayenne, French Guiana. He obtained his Master’s degree at the National Engineering School of Metz, France and had the opportunity to study in other countries such as South Africa, Australia or Brazil. His interest in exploration, discovery and sciences naturally lead him as a child to be a space conquest enthusiast. He practices photography as an amateur. Consequently, he takes advantage of attending the Arianespace’s launches at Kourou’s spaceport to take pictures. His other interests include travelling, scuba diving and running. Jeremy has joined SpaceFlight Insider to provide coverage over the European space operations in Kourou’s spaceport. @Jeremy_BECK
Tom Usciak has covered the space program – since the heady days of the Apollo Program. Despite the fact that his hometown is Lancaster, Pennsylvania – Usciak has frequently traveled extensively to cover space-related events. Usciak attended Brandywine College in Wilmington, Delaware. He has served as both a photographer and photographic editor for Aviation/Space Magazine. He has also worked for Space World, Ad Astra Magazine, Final Frontier Magazine and has now decided to continue coverage of space exploration efforts – with SpaceFlight Insider.
Usciak is the owner of Greenfield Photographic Service, a digital photographic imaging laboratory. He has covered an array of historic missions into the black which include Apollo 15, Apollo 16, Skylab 1, 3, and 4 as well as the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. He went on to cover some 52 Space Shuttle missions from 1979 – through 2009. Usciak covered the first American astronaut launched on a Soyuz rocket to the Mir Space Station from Russia in 1995. Usciak also covered the arrival of Discovery to the National Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia in 2012.
Vikash Mahadeo is the President, Photographer/ Videographer with Bird’s Eye Drones Photography. In this role he uses small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS’s, commonly known as “drones”) for various imaging operations which include real estate and landscape photography, inspections, weddings, large events, and so on. Mahadeo has to coordinate with the FAA and other local authorities to ensure that all operations are conducted safely and legally.
Mahadeo also has extensive experince in the editing and retouching of photos, creating video compilations and sourcing free license music; marketing and customer outreach. However, it wasn’t this impressive skills that brought him to the attention of SpaceFlight Insider.
With an impressive array of experience on various sUAS models over the past two years, as well as a wealth of both amateur and professional photography, Mahadeo seemed to be a natural fit for our ever-expanding team of professionals.
Steve moved to central Virginia from the Atlanta suburbs. He studied U.S. history, geography and social sciences at Virginia Tech and began teaching in the public school system in Southampton County, in Virginia’s Tidewater region. While there, he developed a passion for photography focusing on transportation and anything historic. With encouragement from family and friends, he moved backed to central Virginia where he currently lives and works as a computer science teacher. In his spare time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the beautiful Virginia county side with his camera.
Tom Cross grew up watching Space Shuttle launches from his backyard through binoculars. Having always been interested in human space flight, Cross has read many astronaut’s biographies and met some of them at Kennedy Space Center. Mechanically inclined, Tom currently works as a State-Certified Contractor serving clients through his business. He admires the extraordinary people who work tirelessly everyday to allow people to leave the Earth. Cross’ work is inspired by the space-industry’s standards of design, craftsmanship, testing, inspections, precision, use of physics, as well as the culture and discipline of the multi-talented teams. Cross has become captivated by the NewSpace age and is passionate about covering the events in this new era through his photography. He has photographed a variety of events and finds nothing else as thrilling as a rocket launch. You can see Tom’s other images on instagram