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
On 17 November 2016 at 10.06 local time an Ariane 5 rocket was launched into orbit from Guiana Space Centre. The launch vehicle started by flying straight up, gaining both vertical speed and altitude. During liftoff and the first part of the ascent, the combustion of the solid propellant in the two side boosters produces enormous thrust which accelerates the rocket and forms a huge column of smoke. During this portion of the launch, gravity acts directly against the thrust of the rocket, fighting against vertical acceleration. The milestone mission Flight Ariane VA233 brought up 4 Galileo satellites at once on orbit, making Europe’s new civil global navigation system a constellation of 18 satellites. Galileo will enable users worldwide to know their exact position in time and space with great precision and reliability. Once complete, the system will consist of 24 operational satellites and the ground infrastructure for provision of positioning, navigation and timing services. With the Galileo navigation system Europe will become independent of the American GPS system controlled by the US military.
The artwork “orbital ascent” pictures the historic launch at the Guiana Space Centre (CSG), the European spaceport near Kourou in French Guiana. The spaceport is a high tech facility surrounded by the Amazonian forest which creates not only a stirringly surrealistic setting, but can also serve as a metaphor for the strong and vital relationship between space exploration and planet Earth itself. The composition of the artwork strongly focuses on the relationship between the surface of our planet, the natural environment and Earth-observing space exploration technologies.