Here’s the next best thing to a trip on the International Space ...


Here’s the next best thing to a trip on the International Space Station

A new book of photographs offers a rare glimpse into life aboard the vessel

Lucy Davies

The International Space Station, or ISS, is the largest spacecraft ever constructed. A residential laboratory orbiting Earth at 20 times the speed of sound, it has the span of a football pitch, though the inhabitable part is closer in scale to a large suburban house. Since its 1998 launch, more than 3,600 researchers from 106 countries have conducted investigations on board, though many have done so only remotely. A mere 240 humans have set foot inside.

So what’s it like to be on board, floating weightless, while gazing through the windows at the infinite beyond? For those of us who cannot afford the $55m (R918m) trip to the ISS advertised this year by Axiom Space, a new book, Interior Space, offers the next best thing. In pristine, pin-sharp photography it pictures life on the ISS among the cables, storage pouches, stuffed animals and a sign that reads “Speed limit: 17,000 mph”.

The book is a collaboration between two photographers: one on the ground (Roland Miller), the other on the ISS (Paolo Nespoli). They worked on the pictures over five months, Miller plotting set-ups from images of the interior released by Google Street View, Nespoli wrestling with zero gravity and his messy, photobombing co-workers to e-mail a version of Miller’s idea back to Earth. A single image could take him an hour...

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