The Dry Salvages
This book is a part of the project The dry salvages by Elisabetta Benassi, produced for vice versa, curated by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, The Italian Pavilion at the the 55th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, 2013.
The items published in this book are the 10,000 largest space debris in orbit around the Earth, and have been selected by the artist from the public version of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) Space Object Catalogue started in 1957. They make up an unusual archive of the human presence in space. Since the inception of the so-called Space Race, more than 4,900 space launches have led to a current orbital population of more than 23,000 traceable objects larger than 10 cm.
The USA has a set of radars and telescopes it uses to locate pieces of space debris and collect information about their orbit noted on this book. The debris objects detected in this way are put into a “catalogue” that lists information about each of them. Some 1,000 of these items are operational satellites. The rest are pieces of space debris, objects that no longer serve any useful purpose. In addition, an estimated 670,000 objects larger than 1 cm and 170 million objects larger than 1 mm are expected to be in orbit.