US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — This is not a spacesuit, but a SCAPE suit – “Self Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble”. Technicians wear these suits before refueling satellites with toxic hydrazine fuel, used for maneuvers in space. This photo was taken by Portuguese photographer Edgar Martins at the ESA Cosmodrome in French Guiana.
ESA’s Clean Space Initiative is exploring more environmentally friendly alternatives to hydrazine, but at the moment, this high-energy propellant is used to refuel almost all satellites, as well as for the upper stages of launch vehicles.
Edgar Martins worked closely with ESA in conducting integrated photography of various Agency facilities around the world, as well as its international partners.
Characteristically, there are no people in Martins’ long-exposure photographs taken with analog wide-angle cameras, and they are distinguished by a strict, reverent style. They document the variety of specialized facilities and equipment needed to prepare space flights or recreate orbital conditions for testing on Earth.
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