Iconic Images of Space Taken From the Ground

By Attila Nagy on at

Photographer Edgar Martins' book, The Rehearsal of Space and the Poetic Impossibility to Manage the Infinite, is a must-have for space enthusiasts. But for those without the hard copy, the European Space Agency has released a series of amazing images from the it not previously published online. Take a look at them here.

Edgar Martins' clean, no-frills photos – taken with analogue, wide film cameras – document the specialised installations and equipment needed to prepare for space missions and recreate orbital conditions down on Earth. A comprehensive photographic survey of the European Space Agency's various facilities, the results are an amazing set of photographs straight from the future, but living with us. Here are some of our favourites.

Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Aluminium Honeycomb Assembly, Material and Components Laboratory (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Astronauts' dressing room, where the Sokol spacesuits are stored (Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russian Federation)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Cabling used during testing of ESA's BepiColombo spacecraft.


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Columbus Training Simulator (ESA-EAC, Cologne, Germany)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Entrance to Compact Payload Test Range for antenna testing (CPTR) (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Helmet of a SCAPE suit used by the propulsion crew during spacecraft fuelling operations (CSGEurope's Spaceport, Kourou, French Guiana)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Horn of Acoustic Test Facility (IABG, Ottobrunn, Germany)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Moon rock of volcanic origin found by Eugene Cernan of Apollo 17 in 1972, and on loan from NASA at Space Expo, Noordwijk, for the past 10 years (Space Expo, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) – thermal insulation used on spacecraft, Material and Components Laboratory (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Assembly of the Near InfraRed Spectrograph (NIRSpec) instrument, one of four instruments on the ESA-NASA James Webb Space Telescope (Airbus Defence and Space, Ottobrunn ISO Class 5 Integration Facility, Germany)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Mockup of Node 2 or Harmony (the 'utility module' of the International Space Station) in the Erasmus high bay (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

S5 payload preparation complex – spacecraft fuelling bay (CSG-Europe's Spaceport, Kourou, French Guiana)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Space glove (Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russian Federation)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Stainless steel refector, Material and Components Laboratory (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Mobile gantry for the Vega launcher, seen from below (CSG-Europe's Spaceport, Kourou, French Guiana)


Iconic Images of Space Taken From The Ground

Interior of Large Space Simulator vacuum chamber (ESA-ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands)


All images by Edgar Martins.