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Looking up from the bottom of the mobile launch gantry for ESA’s Vega launcher in French Guiana, as captured by photographer Edgar Martins.
The 50-m tall mobile gantry houses all the equipment needed for launch personnel to assemble and check Vega, the newest member of Europe’s launcher family. Once preparation is complete, the 1000-tonne gantry rolls back on rails, leaving the Vega launcher on its pad, ready for launch.
Portuguese-born Edgar Martins has collaborated closely with ESA to produce a comprehensive photographic survey of the Agency’s various facilities around the globe, together with those of its international partners.
The striking results are collected in his new book and exhibition, entitled The Rehearsal of Space and The Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite.
Characteristically empty of people, Martins’ long-exposure photos – taken with analogue wide film cameras – possess a stark, reverent style. They document the variety of specialised installations and equipment needed to prepare missions for space, or to recreate orbital conditions for testing down on Earth.
Martins’ exhibition opens at The Wapping Project – Bankside in London on 25 April. His book is now available to order, shipping at the end of this month.
This artistic collaboration is part of a number of events marking the 50th anniversary of European cooperation in space.