‘Orbital Planes’ Series Documents 30 Years of the Space Shuttle Program

Roland Miller is an American photographer. He has been focusing his lens on U.S. Space Exploration Programs for the past 30 years. The Orbital Planes is his latest book and series. It presents the entire decade-long journey visually.

The complete series of Miller’s photos will be included in a 200-page photobook called Orbital Planes. It will be published in the fall 2022. Damiani Editore, Bologna, Italy is publishing it.

The book, he says, is a visual representation of his journey documenting the Space Shuttle and its components, as well as the manufacturing, testing and launch facilities throughout the United States. His accounts of his interactions with the Space Shuttle personnel and the program are included with the photos.

He says, “I approached the subject in a mixed style of documentary imagery and abstract imagery to tell an even more complete story.” I hope Orbital Planes will allow the reader to have their own view of the Space Shuttle, and the technology and facilities that made it fly.

Port Side T-0 Umbilical Panel
Space Shuttle Endeavour
STS-134 OPF to VAB Rollover
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
External Tank and SRB “Stack,” STS-133
High Bay 3
Vehicle Assembly Building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Launch Belly View
Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133
Launch Pad 39A
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

Miller began documenting the Space Shuttle program while he was teaching photography at Kennedy Space Center. In 2008, Miller put in a lot of concentrated effort to document the last years of the program. He claims that Orbital Plans is the product of his work. It contains images from the last 30 years of the program, with a focus on the last years.

Miller launched a Kickstarter campaign to help offset the costs of producing the book, and to provide prints of selected images from his project. The crowdfunding campaign offers backing options that include signed copies the Orbital Planes books, images from the book in various sizes, as well as copies of Miller’s two other space photography books, Abandoned In Place: Preserving America’s Space History, and Inside Space: A Visual Exploration the International Space Station.

RSS Rolled Back
Space Shuttle Discovery, STS-133
Launch Pad 39A
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Launch of STS-129
Space Shuttle Atlantis
Vehicle Assembly Building Roof
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Commander’s Console
Space Shuttle Endeavour
Orbiter Processing Facility 2
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florid

Interior Space was funded successfully on Kickstarter in 2020.

Miller says the finished book will be printed on high-quality paper. It will measure 11.7×9.8 inches and be hardbound. There will be 200 pages and 150 photos. Signed copies will be available for all books purchased through Kickstarter. All prints that are offered as rewards will print on high-quality archival papers with pigment inks. They will also be signed.

Fuselage Flag and Wing
Space Shuttle Discovery
Vehicle Assembly Building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florid
Aft with Tail Cone
Space Shuttle Discovery
Vehicle Assembly Building
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida

There are multiple reward tiers available for the book, which starts at $55 but can go up to $1,500. All of these options can be viewed on the Orbital Plans Kickstarter.

ISS Airlock and Hatch
Space Shuttle Discovery
Orbiter Processing Facility 1
NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida
Exhaust Port Detail
Space Shuttle Main Engine Testing
A2 Test Stand
NASA Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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