See the Winners of NASA's 2022 Photographer of the Year Competition

See the Winners of NASA's 2022 Photographer of the Year Competition

It's the fourth running of NASA's annual contest, which celebrates photographers who work at the space agency.

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This stunning photo of a simulated Moon mission earned third place in the Documentation category. The photo was taken in Flagstaff, Arizona.
This stunning photo of a simulated Moon mission earned third place in the Documentation category. The photo was taken in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Photo: NASA/Bill Stafford

NASA has announced the winners of its annual Photographer of the Year competition. From meditative portraits of astronauts through to rockets ready to rock, the contest pays tribute to the space agency’s in-house photographic talent.

The fourth running of the contest included four categories: Documentation, Portrait, People, and Places. All photos were taken in 2021 by photographers who work at NASA. The overall winners in these categories, and also the second and third place finishers, were announced via Twitter last week.

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NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn

NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn

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Photo: NASA/Josh Valcarel

NASA photographer Josh Valcarel was awarded top prize in the Portrait category for this black-and-white photo of NASA astronaut Thomas Marshburn. The astronaut reached low Earth orbit last year during NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station.

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Walking on the simulated Moon

Walking on the simulated Moon

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Photo: NASA/Norah Moran

This first-place photo in the Documentation category shows Kelsey Young and Tess Caswell performing lunar field geology work at Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard, which simulates ground conditions on the Moon. The development tests, done at night, are part of NASA’s Exploration Extravehicular Activity (xEVA) project.

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Tuning a “vibe table”

Tuning a “vibe table”

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Photo: NASA/Denny Henry

This first-place photo in the People category by Denny Henry shows Ryan Fischer, an engineering technician at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, torquing a force gauge ring onto a vibe table. The device was used during vibration testing of the PACE spacecraft bus. It’s hardly a glamour shot, but it captures an important side of NASA that’s rarely seen.

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Wind tunnel majesty

Wind tunnel majesty

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Photo: NASA/Dominic Hart

Dominic Hart captured this stunning view of the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex, which measures 120 feet (36.5 meters) tall and 80 feet (24 meters) wide. The group seen at the base of the complex is none other than members of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The photo earned Hart top prize in the Places category.

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NASA astronaut Jonny Kim

NASA astronaut Jonny Kim

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Photo: NASA/Norah Moran

This second-place Portrait photo shows Jonny Kim in his high-altitude pressure suit. The NASA astronaut wore the suit while inside a WB-57 aircraft, which can fly to altitudes in excess of 60,000 feet (18.3 kilometers).

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Space suit antenna testing

Space suit antenna testing

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Photo: NASA/Norah Moran

This surreal second-place Places photo shows a prototype of a future space suit, known as xEMU, undergoing antenna testing inside the B14 Anechoic Chamber. This particular suit is known as xGUS, in honor of NASA astronaut Gus Grissom.

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Fly like an eagle

Fly like an eagle

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Photo: NASA/Jim Ross

NASA photographer Jim Ross earned a third place People prize for this wild shot of an unnamed NASA pilot riding alongside an F-15 Eagle N897NA.

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DART prelaunch

DART prelaunch

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Photo: NASA/Bill Ingalls

This third-place photo in the Places category shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, spacecraft on top. NASA photographer Bill Ingalls captured the photo on the morning of November 23, 2021, at Space Launch Complex 4E, Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The DART probe is currently en route to Dimorphos, where it will deliberately crash into the asteroid as part of a redirection test.

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Folded Webb

Folded Webb

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Photo: NASA/Chris Gunn

NASA photographer Chris Gunn captured this view of the Webb Space Telescope while it was still folded up in the cleanroom at Northrop Grumman, in Redondo Beach, California. Webb is now entering into the science phase of the mission and already capturing some spectacular views of the cosmos.

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