A retired teacher has spent breaks in his cancer treatment scouring social media for photos of SpaceX rocket launches, aspiring to join fellow photographers in Boca Chica, Texas to document historic events.
“I was reading about it, and I saw it and I thought, ‘Dude, I wish I was over there,’” Daniel Sanchez told Fox News. “I was like, ‘I’m going to get through this, and I’ll have the opportunity to get out of it eventually.'”
“I was just waiting for the day when I could go out and take pictures myself,” Sanchez continued, noting that he would watch SpaceX launches on YouTube.
Sanchez was diagnosed with appendix cancer in September 2018. He said doctors called it a “one in a million” diagnosis.
Sanchez said he was told he had “too many tumors” all over his abdominal cavity and was not a good candidate for surgery. He said he had undergone six cycles of chemotherapy.
“For SpaceX to come and establish a location here, it was like a dream come true for me,” Sanchez said.
Elon Musk’s Gateway to Mars, nestled 20 miles east of Brownsville, Texas on the shores of Boca Chica Beach, has become a destination. The towering rockets and the constant construction at “Starbase”Attract tourists from all over the country.
“It’s almost the end of the world. You have to drive so far to get here that you can’t go any further, ”said Ed Fudman, a Tesla owner who cruised around Boca Chica on vacation. “You’re right on the edge. It’s just amazing that they found this place.
Paul Brannon drove his wife and children from Greenville, South Carolina to see it for himself.
“It’s crazy, we followed it on the internet watching launches and crashes,” Brannon said.
The SpaceX facility houses the production of “Starship,” a prototype rocket designed to someday carry crews and cargo on journeys to the Moon and Mars. To date, several high altitude test flights have been carried out with varying degrees of success. The May 5 test of SN15 spaceship was the first successful launch and nominal landing on the pad.
The launch activity turned some local photographers into social media celebrities.
“I love photography. I love space travel, anything astronomical,” Sanchez told Fox News. “You combine the two, and it’s the perfect thing to do for me.”
“It’s a really nice distraction for me. It makes me forget about my cancer situation, ”Sanchez continued.
Sanchez said he was reluctant to start posting his photos on social media. But when he learned Musk was on Twitter, he joined several other local photographers who have gained constant following online.
“It’s relaxing. I’m mesmerized, I take my pictures and I rush home, load them onto my computer to go see what I have,” Sanchez said. “And it’s very gratifying to see these images and think it’s really history on the move. “
“And I’m documenting some of it and I’ve said to my boys, to my sons, ‘You know what, keep these pictures after I’m gone because they’re going to be precious there,'” Sanchez continued. “We document the story as it happens. And I like it.”