‘Deeply Talented’: Space Coast Launch Photographer Hospitalized in Crash, GoFundMe Raises $ 50,000
ORLANDO, Florida – Fundraising to support a Brevard County rocket launch photographer seriously injured in a frontal crash surpassed its goal of $ 50,000 with help from the space media community.
Jenny Hautmann, 20, was on her way to photograph the launch of NASA’s Lucy mission early Saturday morning.
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While driving along State Road 407 near the Beachline Expressway, a U-Haul truck driving in the opposite direction drifted into its lane and slammed into her Tesla Model 3, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Hautmann was airlifted to hospital where her family said she had since had five surgeries.
“She underwent surgeries to remove her ruptured spleen, repair several fractures in both her legs, her pelvic bone and her broken foot, a tracheostomy procedure and facial reconstruction of her jaw, nose and cheekbones,” Hautmann’s sister wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Colleagues in space media, friends and fans of his rocket photography quickly rallied around Hautmann, who remains in critical condition. In less than 24 hours, fundraising contributions reached over $ 50,000.
The highest donation of $ 9,000 is listed as “Jared Isaacman”; the same name as the billionaire who funded this summer’s all-civilian trip to space aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.
Hundreds more have shared positive messages online after donating to the fund.
“She is one of the most dedicated people I know, even compared to those with decades of experience,” said friend and media colleague Richard Angle.
“To be a launch photographer, we’re a different breed,” said Julia Bergeron of NASA Spaceflight, who worked alongside Hautmann. “Jenny was ready to be there any time of the day.”
Hautmann is a professional photographer for the space media company Superclusters, taking photos and videos of dazzling rocket launches and spaceflight activity around Kennedy Space Center with pinpoint accuracy.
“She is deeply talented” Superclusters Chef Robin Seemangal told News 6.
The remote camera she placed at the NASA launch site before the car crash still captured the magnificent ULA Atlas V rocket taking off from the Cape Canaveral space station at 5:34 a.m.
A colleague of @JennyHPhoto retrieved her remote cameras from the launch pad where she beautifully captured Lucy’s takeoff.
Jenny is committed to covering space flights and really enjoys taking pictures.
Her incredibly supportive parents, Susanne and John, wanted us to share this. pic.twitter.com/sUIV3c8vq7
– Robin (@nova_road) October 19, 2021
The Florida Highway Patrol continues to investigate the crash, which killed the 36-year-old driver of the U-Haul truck and seriously injured his wife in the passenger seat.
“[Jenny] was basically stuck in the car. They had to cut the roof off the Tesla to get it out, ”said Lieutenant FHP Kim Montes. She said an initial report shows Hautmann’s legs were stuck inside the Tesla for nearly an hour before being freed by Brevard County firefighters.
Lt. Montes said a sergeant at the scene noticed how the Tesla held up during the crash.
“They basically had to cut that car to get to it.”
Although she lives with cystic fibrosis, Hautmann’s family say the disease never stopped Jenny from pursuing her career in photography. Miraculously, the family say Saturday’s crash spared their compromised lungs.
“She is still heavily sedated and in and out of consciousness, but is starting to communicate with us with minor movements of her hands and lips. Her medical team is also slowly starting to wean her off the ventilator, ”the family said in an update posted on GoFundMe Wednesday.
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