In 2003, looking to pursue a career in the space program, Ben Cooper attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, and earned a degree in aerospace engineering in 2008. During his time there, he photographed launches. By his graduation, he had a broad portfolio in photography and offers to apply for a NASA photographer position. He was privileged to photograph the remaining space shuttle launches and their mission preparations for NASA from 2008-2011, when the aging vehicles were retired. Much of this work was critical to the lives of the astronauts onboard, as NASA implemented broad documentation requirements for photography on the ground and in space during a mission following the Columbia accident in 2003. During the same period, new companies were being established and conducting their first launches in an era some have dubbed New Space. Ben was quickly asked to capture the first flights of this new era.