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Image of the PACE-1 satellite in orbit


Orbital Group Art Exhibition

2021 - ongoing

Low Earth Orbit


PACE-1 Orbital Group Art Exhibition

A remarkable feat achieved by The Spacecraft Agency, the PACE-1 Group Art Exhibition is the Agency's first collaborative artistic endeavour in outer space. Spearheaded by curator Luke Idziak, in partnership with co-curator Arno Geens, this innovative project is a testament to the synergy between art and technology. The collaboration extends beyond the agency, including a partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, thus merging the worlds of science and art.


The curators commissioned four captivating artworks by international artists, each etched into the aluminium spacecraft body and created from kapton tape. Total creative control was given, as long as the thermal requirements for the mission were met.

As the specific thermal requirements and materials to be used on the spacecraft were finalised, an iterative process ensued where the artwork was customised for reproductivity in the chosen medium: laser etching on high and low emissivity tape, and Kapton tape. Integrating the artworks within the narrow surface percentage covering and material choices allowed was a unique and exciting learning experience for both the artists and the engineers. 

Image of the Cosmic Voyager artwork by Mike Dabro

Cosmic Voyager

Mike Dabro

Comics artist, USA

A spacecraft leaves Earth, traveling on a mission of exploration and discovery; its later message to us: “I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe”. An homage to the famous description of space adventure in the sci-fi movie Bladerunner. An additional, hidden message is worked into the shapes of the trajectory, planets, rings, and stars which all come together to spell out “SPACE”.

Laser etching on aluminium spacecraft body.

20 x 30 cm.

Image of The View From Above artwork by Selby Sohn


Selby Sohn

Data Visualizer, artist, USA

High-resolution fractal pixel density, with each pixel and its corresponding negative space serving to represent and memorialize each person lost to the Covid-19 pandemic through the shadows they no longer cast upon the face of the Earth.

Laser etching on aluminium spacecraft body.

3 x 3 cm.

Image of The New Hive / Swarm Cityscape artwork by Steven Johnson

The New Hive /
Swarm Cityscape

Steven Johnson

Industrial Illustrator, USA

Radiation and the Insect Centric Future, Seen From Space; and Solar Radiation Flux Wind.

Abstracts reminiscent of satellite imagery from orbit.
Landscapes and futuristic topographical camouflage type patterns.

Biological cell processes and circuitry in reaction to high energy particles in outer space.

Laser etching on aluminium spacecraft body.

15 x 15 cm.

Image of the Feynman artwork by Arno Geens


Arno Geens

Designer, researcher, Belgium

A stylisation of the famous Feynman diagrams depicting deep space radiation interactions and events.

Laser etching on aluminium spacecraft body.

20 x 30 cm.

Matching Thermal requirements and Artistic Medium

(thermal) Engineers, curators and artists working together to realise the final product.

Thermal analysis informed what materials were needed on different faces of the bus, which in turn informed the method of reproducing the artwork in two different, mission specific, techniques: Laser cut Kapton tape on low emissivity film, and direct laser etching on high emissivity film.

Informed iteration and collaboration between engineers and artists evolved certain aspects of the artwork and led to successful fabrication and integration of functional spacecraft materials and unique art.

Screen capture of thermal simulation software

Thank you:

PACE-1 Spacecraft mission

NASA's Payload Accelerator for CubeSat Endeavors (PACE) initiative, launched on June 30, 2021, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, is a pioneering project with ambitious goals. Its primary objective is to advance small spacecraft technologies, aiming to transform future deep space missions while reducing costs. The initiative recognizes the importance of thoroughly vetting new technologies to withstand the rigors of the space environment, ensuring their readiness for exploration missions. This technology maturation process involves iterative design, assembly, and testing cycles, culminating in technology demonstrations in space. PACE endeavors to mature technology payloads, from initial proof-of-concept models to flight-qualified components, all while significantly shortening testing timelines. Currently, the spacecraft orbits in Low Earth Orbit, marking a significant milestone in this journey of innovation and exploration.

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