Posts by Alana Zimmer

Space Suit of the Week

Jay Fleck

Jay Fleck

Jay Fleck

Illustrator Jay Fleck‘s work is full of childhood ambition: his work illustrates fantasies born while staring at the ceiling on top of bunk bed during summer camp. On a large scale, his work depicts giraffes, whales, rocket ships and other figments of a healthy childhood imagination. The only way I know describe is work is that he pieces are fun–some are clever and others are more cheeky, too. All are full of childish fun pared with aspiration and daydreams.

Space Suit of the Week

SYMBOLS OF THE APOLLO X LM CREW - Snoopy - Charles Schulz - Stafford Cernan

During stressful launches, NASA’s jet Propulsion Laboratory mission control eats handfuls of peanuts for good luck. Peanuts have been a part of space exploration for a long time. A dedicated reader passed along the above Peanuts Snoopy astronaut action figure: Snoopy was the NASA Manned Flight Awareness Program mascot (with the blessing of Peanuts creator Charles Schultz) and spoke out for flight safety. NASA even awards a “Silver Snoopy Award” to employees and contractors for outstanding human flight safety achievements.

Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan of Apollo X named their Lunar Module (LM) Snoopy. The Command Service Module was named Charlie Brown.

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Space Suit of the Week

NASA Apollo - Iceland

NASA Apollo - Iceland

Like many countries, Iceland does not have a space program, although, Iceland has been intimately involved in space exploration by proxy. In 1965 and 1967 in preparation for latter Apollo Missions, NASA sent astronauts to the formally green areas of Iceland that are now barren. The US Space Program chose to send their space farers to areas on earth that resembled the surface of the moon so our future moonwalkers could practice trotting around on a similar environment. Nine of the twelve men that have danced on the lunar surface first danced upon the surface of Iceland.

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Space Suit of the Week

Jan Jinda - Space suit

Jan Jinda - Space suit

Jan Jinda - Space suit

Who will be on the forefront of the next stage of space exploration? You might remember some real life individuals that have taken upon themselves to brave the final frontier: Final Frontier Design & PSU Professor Cameron Smith.

Jan Jinda rendered a cheeky portrait of a textbook geek that created his own suit out of found items. While our real life space suit entrepreneurs have it more together than Jinda’s Poindexter, his charm is rendered is such amazing detail. I am quite fond of the water detail of the goldfish stripped of his helmet-like home. The space books, posters & paraphernalia nicely round out the composition. He’s got the confidence of someone to “be next.”

Space Suit of the Week

Snurk - Astronaut Duvet

Snurk - Astronaut Duvet 2

Dream big. Dutch ‘horizontal living’ design firm Snurk unveiled their latest duvet cover featuring an exact replica of a European Space Agency (ESA) spacesuit, right down to the last buckle mirrors of the European spacewalkers. Now when you’re tucked up in bed, you’ll be counting exoplanets rather than sheep. As much as I love the concept and the beautiful product photographs that accompany it, I do really wish they included a young girl and/or someone with a little diversity. Astronauts/Cosmonauts is an exclusively bro club–but we all can dream.

Found via HiComsumption. Thanks to Alex, Jenny, & Isaac for the tip-off.

Space Suit of the Week

Nicholas Forker - Shadows 6

Nicholas Forker - Shadows 7`

Nicholas Forker - Shadows 3

Nicholas Forker is in good company.

Forker employs the astronaut archetype, the 21st Century Lone Ranger, to create forms that can’t be made without the human touch. His work plays with duality: light/dark, man/machine, etc. These images from his Shadows series are an “attempt to take the drawing medium through an evolution of its own.” Forker uses lasers on glass to create an images that are close to invisible. Lights a powerful medium, giving the figures free floating life.

You may remember Nicholas from when Alex wrote about his mural that he created back in 2011. Vice’s Spaced Out did a wonderful piece on him this summer traversing through New York City in a Mercury-looking silver suit, too.

Space Suit of the Week

Mercury Astronauts - Group 3 - Survival Training

Mercury Astronauts - Group 3 - Survival Training

I wanted to dip into the archives this week; Fast Company published a wonderful series on the Apollo missions that reminded me of the wealth of beautiful images from NASA Archives. If you haven’t already taken a mini adventure through NASA Images powered by the SF based Internet Archive – it is definitely on the top ten list of sites to visit for a space suit enthusiast. Some of my favorite rarely seen photographs that are found deep within this vault of many treasures are survival training photographs- my favorite of which are stills from Mercury Group 3 Training.

These Mercury boys had yet to go the moon; Mercury / Apollo Test Pilot Alan Shepard didn’t become the first American in space until 1961 ( as a point of reference – JFK made his famous “We Choose to Go to the Moon” speech in 1962). American manned exploration accomplishments during the Mercury program era were limited, but the possibilities were endless. I think that is why these survival training photographs are so charming. Throw a bunch of lifetime military men in the desert – that’ll get ’em ready for the final frontier.  Not going to lie, their headdresses made out of parachutes  make them look more like Devendra Banhart  than 1960’s American rocketman.

Space Suit of the Week

Wiktor Franko - Cosmonaut Girl

Wiktor Franko - Cosmonaut Girl

Polish photographer Wiktor Franko’s work-in-progress series, inspired by Ridley Scott films, captures cosmic queens in common spaces. Franko casts a narrative through his leading space ladies – the first space adventurer with freckles and chest bare has a gaze stripped of emotion. In contrast, the pensive subject depicted in full color below has steamed up her shield and is matched with a intent gaze. These girls have places to be.

Space Suit of the Week

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

Space Race - Tom Clohosy Cole

The space race was the greatest competition all time: two great nations pushing technological and scientific boundaries for galactic supremacy. Rooted in the necessity to achieve what no nation had yet to accomplish, science and mankind reached new heights. Tom Clohosy Cole’s concertina, Space Race, beautifully illustrates this push to the limits. The efforts of these two great Cold War super powers are detailed on opposing sides of a paper-made Iron Curtain narrating the notable achievements of spaceflight. The highlights of the USSR include Sputnik’s star streak across the autumn sky and Yuri Gagarin’s landmark orbital waltz around the home planet. On the opposing side, the achievements of the United States showcase the Apollo rocket boys. Cole’s concertina crescendos at quite probably the greatest single achievement in the space race – the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. This event technically marks the end of the Space race between the two nations as the Soviet Soyuz and the Yankee Apollo crafts dock together–a cosmic handshake and sign of peace. From my own ethnocentric point of view, the space race narrative (as told here in the United States) ends with Armstrong & his boys’ dance on the moon. Yet in actuality the Test Project, commonly referred to statewide as Apollo 18, is truly the last dance of the great space race. Cole’s depiction in four colors boldly celebrates these adventuresome achievements. And unfurled, it paints a panorama of this time far grander than any Hasselblad shot brought back as a souvenir.

Weightlessness & Tastelessness: The NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory

SpaceFoodSkylabTray

space food - mercury

Space Food Apollo

Space Food Shuttle Tray

The responsibility of concocting the US astronauts’ meals falls on the shoulders of NASA Space Food Systems Laboratory (SFSL). Their mission is to “…provide high-quality flight food systems that are convenient, compatible with each crew member’s physiological and psychological requirements, meet spacecraft stowage and galley interface requirements, and are easy to prepare and eat in the weightlessness of space.” Those necessities are strict confines in the composition of a spacefarer’s diet yet another factor comes into play–the degradation of the sense of taste in weightlessness.

Foods tastes bland and flavorless; even astronauts who admit to not enjoying spicy foods and finding themselves reaching for the bottle of hot sauce. A few days into a mission, Astronauts lose their sense of smell in space and food in general doesn’t taste quite on point. I can’t figure out why exactly astronauts lose their sense of smell, but I can only imagine fluids in your body get all messed up when you’re floating delicately in space. To compensate for this sensation, the Food Systems Lab has prepared a slue of spicy, flavor packed foods. They have even called in Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, and Rachel Ray to created meals for lift off.

Generally, eating in space seems quite fun. It’s a lot easier to play with your food in the weightlessness. It does seem a little harder to start a food fight, though.