On June 7th, 2007, a Delta II rocket blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, California, carrying with it the Italian Thales Alenia-Space COSMO-SkyMed Satellite. And while the rocket was careening towards space, Staff Sgt. Eric Thompson (who was moving in the decidedly opposite direction) managed to snap this amazing photo.
At the time, Staff Sgt. Thompson was the instructor with the 532nd Training Squadron based out of Vandenberg. Knowing full well that a rocket launch was going to be happening on June 7th, he planned his skydive to coincide.
Here’s a closer crop:
The photo, aptly titled one goes up, one comes down on the Vandenberg website, captured the silhouette of the falling instructor and pupil, as well as the rocket blasting off into space behind them — a breathtaking shot that really has to be viewed in high-resolution to be appreciated.
Be sure to follow that link to check out the full-res version for yourself. And if this post has gotten you in the mood for more skydiving photography, check out this skydiving fashion shoot BTS we featured back in April of last year.
Image credits: Photograph by the US Air Force.