Of All The Satelloon Photos I've Loved Before

A digitized collection of vintage NASA Goddard Space Flight Center newsletters led me to the June 23, 1963 issue of LIFE Magazine. If it were possible for any photo of a Project Echo satelloon to be slightly less than awesome, this photo would move forward to be the awesomest:


It's a technician inspecting for leaks during a test inflation of the Echo II at Lakehurst, New Jersey, which was long the Navy's site for giant inflatable vehicles. From the 1930s construction photos of the massive dirigible hangars to the parades of Navy blimps during WWII, the "Lakehurst" is a stealth candidate for awesomest single search term Google's LIFE Magazine image archive. Unfortunately, this photo is not included. I'd love to find it, though; someone deserves a credit.

Here's one of the same test, only there's no location, and it's misdated. credit: NASA. And it's public domain. Here's one of the first ever photos of an Echo satelloon; famous LIFE photojournalist Grey Villet took it while standing next to the antenna used to bounce the first radio signal off Echo I in 1960.


All of this is related to my master plan to show a satelloon as an art object, sure, but it's also precipitated by NASA's latest, the Bullet 580, dubbed, depressingly, "the world's largest inflatable airship," which was test inflated last weekend. At 235 feet long and 65 feet across, it practically fills the Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery, Alabama [below]


If there were a clearer sign that Our Nation has lost its way in the field of Giant Balloons And The Buildings That Hold Them, I can't think of it. A sad, sad day. [images: George Strock/LIFE; AP]

Since 2001 here at greg.org, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting greg.org that time.

comments? questions? tips? pitches? email
greg [at] greg [dot ] org

find me on twitter: @gregorg

about this archive

Posts from May 2016, in reverse chronological order

Older: April 2016

recent projects, &c.

Chop Shop
curated by Magda Sawon
1-7 March 2016

eBay Test Listings
Mar – Dec 2015
about | proposte monocrome, rose

It Narratives, incl.
Shanzhai Gursky & Destroyed Richter
Franklin Street Works, Stamford
Sept 5 - Nov 9, 2014
about | link

TheRealHennessy Tweets Paintings, 2014 -

Standard Operating Procedure
about | buy now, 284pp, $15.99

CZRPYR2: The Illustrated Appendix
Canal Zone Richard Prince
YES RASTA 2:The Appeals Court
Decision, plus the Court's
Complete Illustrated Appendix (2013)
about | buy now, 142pp, $12.99

"Exhibition Space"
Mar 20 - May 8 @apexart, NYC

HELP/LESS Curated by Chris Habib
Printed Matter, NYC
Summer 2012
panel &c.

Destroyed Richter Paintings, 2012-
background | making of
"Richteriana," Postmasters Gallery, NYC

Canal Zone Richard
Selected Court Documents
from Cariou v. Prince (2011)
about | buy now, 376pp, $17.99