I found these really incredible space suit motion tests through the Flickr of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, which is a veritable trove of space goodies. I’m not entirely sure what the back story is on these but it would seem to me that they were testing the mobility of the suits, making sure the people who wore them could move adequately to do their jobs (aka play golf on the moon). I doubt these images were never meant to be seen as “artsy”, but I can’t help but think of how cool they look.
Dear San Diego Air & Space Museum, if you own the rights to these photos you should blow them up to a giant size and sell them as art prints, make your fine organization a little money!
The Dachstein Mars Simulation LiveBlog has shared some pictures this week of the testing of experimental spacesuits and instrumentation systems that could one day be used on Mars, which may remind you of the Austrian Airspace Forum Institute suits that we posted earlier this year. Mars suits have been designed to withstand extreme temperatures, which they test in ice caves that “would be a natural refuge for any microbes on Mars seeking steady temperatures and protection from damaging cosmic rays,” as Stuff Magazine explains.
These suits realized in silver remind me strongly of the Mercury 7 Astronauts who used fighter pilot suits sprayed silver to distinguish themselves from their former wearers. As the Mercury suits were a visible departure from the dare devils of the sky that preceded them, these silver suits lack the huggable pillowly essence of the Shuttle era stark white suits. One small step for manned space exploration couture…
Found via BLDGBLOG
The Gemini astronauts are not given as much credit as they deserve. The accomplishments of the Apollo patriots cast a large shadow over astronaut corp before and after. Even still, the gents of the Gemini program trailblazed the way for the later explorations. The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum just released these photographs from their deep archive that paint a much more human face on the Gemini crew that were lost “somewhere between ‘the right stuff’ and the moon.” Among many other things, Gemini gents were pioneers of orbital photography, using the Hasselblad that the Apollo lads made famous on their moon landing.
San Francisco is a city that can really make you feel like a transplant. You ended up here like a tumbleweed, blown into this golden city by the bay by some sort of random chance.
Alec Huxley’s acrylic on canvas spacemen trapped in San Francisco struck me in this regard. His artist statement states that his work captures the reality of a lucid dream through the lens of a vintage space helmet. The city of San Francisco truly seems like a lucid dream; in what other city in the world does every house have excessively large bay windows and is painted the primary colors akin to a kindergartener’s lunch box? It is many ways an urban version of Alice’s Wonderland. Huxley’s San Francisco is stripped of its iconic colors and its other trademark identifiers, captured in a greyscale whose figures are floating above it rather than immersed within it. They are outsiders, transplants, tumbleweeds like me.
Alec Huxley is from California, Alaska, Texas, Scotland and Washington. His work is currently showing at 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco. Scope his work this weekend before the exhibition closes on the 28th.
Thirty years ago yesterday in 1982, Sally Ride was tapped to ride in STS-7. She was selected to be the first American woman to fly into space. I usually try to share the freshest space artwork that I can find on the outerwebs, but I am selfishly taking the opportunity to share the work that originally got me going in space art, that highlight the LADIES of the manned space exploration- Philip Bond’s 2009 “Women in Space”.
Bond began the series with the intention of drawing each female astronaut; while still shy of capturing the nearly sixty that have flown, his results are cosmic. Bond’s sublime, cartoon-like portraits transform these female space pioneers into galactic superheros. Dipped in hues of lime, violet and blue, the collection forms a vibrant girl power astro yearbook. The series begins with Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to venture into space beating Sally by twenty years, and includes another twenty women who have bravely taken flight off earth.
You go girls. RIDE SALLY RIDE.
Happy Belated Cosmonauts Day! Yesterday, April 12 was the 51st anniversary of the first manned space flight by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, orbitting the earth aboard Vostok 1. Also, for all the American patriots reading this, yesterday was the 31st Anniversary of first space shuttle launch – Columbia STS-1 in 1981.
Every April 12th, there are gatherings of space fans and fanatics for the International Yuri’s Night. There are over 75 organized events in 34 countries to celebrate the achievement of making it spaceward.
The above logo was created by Karen Lau of Astracultura around the 40th Anniversary of Yuri’s flight. As much as I enjoy the logo itself, I am especially fond of the typography used in all of the event’s branding; in particular the Faux Cyrillic Y, as the Faux Cyrille lettering is common Western trope used to allude to the USSR and/or Russia. Even as Yuri’s night was founded by Westerners (Loretta Hidalgo, Trish Games and George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic), it is a celebration to commemorate the international milestone of putting man into space.
I first came across Philip Scott Andrew’s Last Days photo essay a while back while I was still working on contract at NASA Ames Research Center right before the end of the Space Shuttle program. Ames is home to the largest federal supercomputer, the NASA Kepler mission, and a slew of other amazing missions/projects; it is not involved in launch of manned space crafts. Even still the day after the Shuttle Program it seemed like a dark veil or stormy cloud hovered above the Research Park. Few engineers and employees were out and about; the heads of the seldom few were hung heavy. Even I, whom didn’t dream of being an astronaut as child, who starting working at NASA because it was a golden opportunity to share amazing content in an innovative fashion, sunk a little.
Andrew’s photographs capture end of the NASA Space Shuttle Program in such a triumphant manner. In his frames, there is no confusion or dismay about where the Space Program is headed. There is no bitterness to lack of direction and aimless quest of human space flight. It glorifies the accomplishments and tireless of work of so many individuals to place man into orbit.
His artist statement in Issue 9 of Daylight Magazine reads:
In the simplest terms, these photographs tell a story about men and women who show up to work every day and launch spaceships. It is a marvel, a symbol of the United States’ twentieth century dominance. But it is a tragic story. The U.S. is abandoning not only its manned spaceflight program but the individuals behind it whose ingenuity, bravery, and attention to detail made the program not only possible, but reliable… In looking back, we can look ahead to find the next adventure over the horizon.
Last Days truly captures a moment in time. The work is pretty phenomenal in taking a snapshot of the unparalleled nationalistic spirit and technical accomplishment only possible through the hands of many. Check out his website, it’s full of gems.
The photos of Lado Alexi are filled with sexy, fashionable people, but clearly he also has a soft spot for space suits. He took the spacesuit, something that’s decidedly not sexy, something made for protecting the human body from the extreme temperatures and vacuum of space, and turns it into something mysterious and sensual. The model almost appears to be protecting herself with the suit, the last photo looking like she’s preparing to suit up. The colors are also pretty fantastic, they almost look like something from an old pulp comic book. Be sure to check out the rest of his work as well, he’s got a great eye.