Wallops Island and the NASA Antares Launch

I was stoked when I got the email saying I had been accepted for the NASA Social program for the Antares launch. The area took some work getting to, as Amtrak only gets so close, but take it from my earlier posts (and those still to come) from this trip- the area is beautiful.

Part of the NASA Social thing was getting to explore the flight facilities, where guides gave detailed tours on the manufacturing, launching, and use of current aeronautic equipment. I’m not gonna play like I’m a huge space nut. My knowledge of what NASA does barely extends past what you see in movies, but others chosen for this seamed like true space fans, and couldn’t contain their joy. Even if I didn’t understand something I was being shown, it was cool seeing how excited the others were, in between all the grammin’.

The day of the launch was beautiful, and people showed up in droves at NASA’s visitor center while we and other press were trucked off to a much closer location. Honestly though, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the launch itself or how I would feel. Would it be awe? Would I just have this cynical “that’s it?” response from being conditioned with big, dramatic footage of the old shuttle launches?

How I ended up feeling was just… small. The noise, the spectacle, and watching as the rocket went into the clouds and just disappeared was truly unique. Those few seconds of intensity left me thankful that I got the chance to do all this, but I also wanna encourage y’all to apply for a chance to do this as well! NASA loves bringing in new people to see and share what they do, and who knows you might even see me at another one.

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New Orleans        San Francisco         San Antonio

Oakland                Austin                     Portland

Los Angeles          West Glacier          St. Louis

Philadelphia          Washington, D.C.    Whitefish

New York City      Seattle                   Denver

Minneapolis          Wallops Island        Chincoteague

Yosemite              Port Huron


More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.

Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.

Of course, you can always send an email.



That's all the planning I do.

Traveling around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, have surprising adventures by bike or on foot, and document the experiences.

Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.

This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and I've fallen in love with seeing where all I can go and what all I can do. Since then I've continued those adventures every month with new journeys biking, hiking, and exploring cities, small towns, and the amazing wilderness... Anywhere the train can take me.


My name is Brent Knepper.

I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first train trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.