galactic ascent


Format 1: 202 x 132 cm / 79.5 x 52 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Format 2: 102 x 67 cm / 40.2 x 26.3 in, edition of 6 + 2 AP
Hybrid photography, archival pigment print, aludibond, diasec, custom-made aluminium frame

A brilliantly blue sky stretches over the New Mexico desert. Above a futuristic-looking building, the private spaceplane VSS Unity ascends into space. After over 15 years of development, in May 2023, the final crucial test flight takes place, marking the beginning for the American company Virgin Galactic to start ferrying payloads and civilian passengers into space. At an altitude of 15 km, the spaceplane detaches from its carrier aircraft VMS Eve and ignites its engine, initiating a steep ascent into the dark expanse of space. With six crew members on board, VSS Unity reaches suborbital space at three times the speed of sound after 60 seconds. The ship's passengers gaze in fascination at the Earth below. The spaceplane launches from Spaceport America, a unique spaceport designed and built by British architect Sir Norman Foster. The clean lines, curved roof structure, and minimalist design give the spaceport a distinctive visual identity. This sustainable facility features hangars for spacecraft, launch and landing runways, control centers, training facilities, and offices. Foster seamlessly integrated the spaceport into the surrounding New Mexico desert landscape, emphasizing the connection between Earth and space and creating a harmonious relationship between architecture and nature.

The artwork "galactic ascent" portrays the ascent of the VSS Unity spaceplane into space during its test flight in the spring of 2023. The viewer's gaze travels across the radiant dunes of White Sands desert, entering the pictorial space and resting on the iconic Spaceport America building. Its curved design echoes the wave-like structure of the dunes. The composition combines three different perspectives of the building. The moon above the structure marks the central axis of the composition. Against the backdrop of the dark blue sky, the bright white contrail of the rocket engine shoots steeply upwards into the dark starry heavens. To the right of it, the carrier ship VMS Eve is visible, having released the spaceplane just seconds before. Inside the spaceplane, astronauts race into the darkness of space at Mach 3. The artwork "galactic ascent" formally references Michael Najjar's work "spaceport" from 2013, when the spaceport was still under construction. The image captures a historic moment in space exploration, as the flight heralds the upcoming era of private, civilian space travel, allowing many people in the future to journey into space and view our fragile planet from above.


Personally liable:
Michael Najjar

Design concept & coding: Matthias Hübner,
with support by Marco Land

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