This blog will keep you informed about the "outer space" series:

Michael visits the new SpaceShipTwo at SpaceShipCompany in the Mojave desert.

© Fotos: Virgin Galactic

Michael is a Virgin Galactic Pioneer Astronaut since 2011 and plans to travel into space with Richard Branson´s SpaceShipTwo in the near future. The spaceship vehicles are designed to carry two pilots and six passengers on launches into suborbital space. On 31 October 2014 (Michael´s Birthday) during a test flight, VSS Enterprise, the first SpaceShipTwo craft, broke up in flight and crashed in the Mojave desert. A preliminary investigation suggested the feathering system, the craft's descent device, deployed too early.

After more than one year of intensive work by the VG team the second SpaceShipTwo spacecraft, VSS Unity, was unveiled on 19 February 2016. The vehicle is currently undergoing ground and air system integration testing. Michael was given the opportunity to visit the SpaceShipCompany factory located in the Mojave desert and also talk to the engineers about their work.

„Space Suite“ shortlisted for European Hotel Award


Michael has created a truly out-of-this-world experience at the Kameha Grand Hotel Zurich, Switzerland - an entire futuristic space station housed in a new hotel building. The “Space Suite” has now been nominated and shortlisted for the prestigious European Hotel Design Awards which celebrate exceptional hotel design and architecture, honouring the work of leading architects, artists and designers. The awards acknowledge creativity, innovation and excellence across thirteen different categories. They are judged by a panel of industry experts and peers representing the various disciplines involved in new hotel projects across Europe.

The shortlist for the best Hotel Suite 2016 are:

  • La Maisonette at JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Venice
    Matteo Thun & Partners
  • Milano Suite at Mandarin Oriental, Milan
    Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners
  • The Presidential Suite at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel & Spa, Liverpool
    Falconer Chester Hall
  • The Royal Suite at The Lanesborough, London
    Alberto Pinto Interior Design
  • The Sterling Suite at The Langham, London
    Richmond International
  • The Space Suite at Kameha Grand, Zurich
    Studio Michael Najjar

Michael Najjar photographs the Vulcain 2 rocket engine in France


In July 2016 Michael Najjar went to Vernon and Les Mureaux in France to take pictures of the assembly of the Vulcain 2 engine and its integration in the Ariane 5 launcher main stage. Vulcain rocket engines have been used since 1996 to propel Ariane 5 rockets in their first ten minutes of flight, up to an altitude of 200 km. Overall, they provide 8% of the total thrust needed at liftoff, and the full thrust of the propulsion phase after booster separation and before ignition of the upper stage. The Vulcain is ignited by three pyrotechnic devices on the launch pad; six seconds later the solid rocket boosters are ignited and the rocket lifts off.

The engine measures 3m high, 1.76m in diameter, weighs 1,686 kg and is located at the centre of the base of Ariane 5. It delivers 115 tonnes of thrust, achieving this by mixing two cryogenic liquids: hydrogen at –251°C and oxygen at –184°C. Connected to the Vulcain are tanks holding 25 tonnes of liquid hydrogen and 130 tonnes of liquid oxygen. These cryogenic propellants are channelled into the Vulcain’s high-pressure combustion chamber via two turbo pumps. Hydrogen bursts into flame on contact with oxygen inside this chamber in a chemical reaction that generates very hot combustion gases which are expelled by gas expansion through the nozzle at supersonic velocities higher than 4,000 m/s, giving the needed thrust to the launcher.

“space garden“ at museum Marta Herford

Motiv © Michael Najjar
Museum © museum Marta Herford
Installation © museum Marta Herford

Michael Najjar´s work "space garden" is currently on view at museum Marta Herford, Germany as part of the exhibition "Unsettling Green - Focusing on a color". What happens when we see green – instead of, for example, red? In this first exhibition on a “disturbing” colour, its topicality, its contemporary functions and meanings are at the centre of an extremely exciting presentation. Different aspects and interconnections are presented in painting, installations and video, giving rise to a lively panorama of the contemporary relevance or a colour which is as everyday as it is irritating.

“space garden” visualizes the idea of future greenhouses in space. It is based on photographs taken at the Eden Project, which is a complex of artificial biomes set in Cornwall in the south of England. The giant multidome greenhouse is related to Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic structures and houses over 100,000 plants collected from all around the world. “space garden” explores the idea of how the experiences made by Eden Project could one day help in installing a biome on a spaceship or a space station – or even in creating an autonomous ecosystem, a habitat for plants on the Moon or on Mars. It also questions how zero or microgravity affects the growth of plants. Plants can grow even when not rooted in soil; they always grow in the direction of the light.

Exhibition curated by Michael Kröger
Exhibition dates: 23 May – 14 August 2016

Exhibition at Reggio Emilia / Palazzo da Mosta


Every year, the Italian city of Reggio Emilia hosts a spectacular photography festival entitled Fotografia Europea, and the 2016 edition will be its 11th, bringing a rich cultural program spread across the town and its cultural institutions. The main theme of Fotografia Europea 2016 will be roads, journeys, borders. Accompanied by conferences, performances, educational initiatives and other events, Fotografia Europea 2016 will put an emphasis on the role of photography in contemporary society. By appointing the concept of “roads” as its main focus, the festival examines the theory and practice of the medium in the last three decades, its borders, frontiers and transit points.

Michael Najjar was invited to present works from his "outer space" series at Palazzo da Mosta.
Exhibition dates: 6 May - 10 July 2016

„outer space“ exhibition opens in New York


Benrubi Gallery presents Michael Najjar's solo exhibition, "outer space"- the artist’s first show with the gallery and the first major showing of this series in New York City. On view are 10 large scale photographs, 3 video works and vision statements by Buzz Aldrin and Michael Lopez-Algeria.

Exhibition duration: 1 April - 14 May, 2016

Press reviews:
Wallstreet Journal
TIME Magazine
Smithonian Magazine

Benrubi Gallery
521 West 26th Street 2nd floor
New York, NY 10001
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am - 6pm

VA229 Mission successful launched into space


Arianespace’s second launch of 2016 succesfully took place on the 9th of March. The Ariane 5 rocket roared into the start night sky of French Guyana to orbit the EUTELSAT 65 West A satellite for the international operator Eutelsat Communications.

Michael has spent 3 weeks at the Space Center Guyana (CSG) to take pictures from the preparation of the the Ariane 5 Launcher, the integration of the huge satellite and the launch itself.

Virgin Galactic unveils new spaceship 16 months after fatal crash

© Virgin Galactic
© Virgin Galactic

Sixteen months after a tragic crash during a test flight which killed a pilot, Virgin Galactic unveiled its newly built spaceship on Friday 19 February in a ceremony at the company’s factory in Mojave, California.

Professor Stephen Hawking named the new vehicle Virgin Spaceship (VSS) Unity. The testing phase will start soon.Unity will be tested as a whole craft, first on the ground; then in tethered flight to the carrying aircraft; then in controlled glide; then finally in powered flight.

Michael has arrived at Guiana Space Center

Frida Valenduc, © Michael Najjar

Michael was given the rare opportunity to take pictures of an Ariane 5 launch campaign at the Centre Spacial Guyannais (CSG) near Kourou in French Guyana. Operational since 1968, it is particularly suitable as a location for a spaceport because it is quite close to the equator, so that the spinning earth can impart some extra velocity to the rockets for free when launched eastward. The European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency CNES (National Centre for Space Studies), and the commercial Arianespace company conduct launches from Kourou.

Michael will follow the assembly of an Ariane 5 Rocket as well as the integration of a communication satellite which will be send to the geostationary orbit for broadcasting the Olympic Games in Brazil. The launch of the vehicle and the integrated satellite is scheduled for 9th March 2016.

Michael inaugurates solo exhibition „outer space“ at Kunstverein Oldenburg, Germany


Oldenburger Kunstverein presents Michael`s solo exhibition "outer space“. Since time immemorial the firmament of heaven has been a place of wonder and speculation for all cultures of humanity on which they have projected their hopes and deepest desires. The stars serve for geographic orientation and spiritual guidance, astronomical events are thought to explain terrestrial happenings, they are the objects of cultural production in all disciplines. The possibility of leaving the Earth now raises fundamental questions in our understanding of who we are and where we come from. The attempt to penetrate outer space bears testimony to our innate sense of curiosity, our desire to broaden and push back frontiers.

The exhibition presents 23 large-scale photographic and video works.

Exhibition dates: 13 Nov 2015 - 17 Jan 2015