Roland Miller's Space Race Ghost Towns
Abandoned launchpads and space debris in America.
Released this month, Abandoned In Place is a book of photographs by Roland Miller "preserving America's space history." Miller beautifully captures abandoned silos, launch sites, and control rooms from New Mexico to Florida, all ghostly reminders of the immense construction and physical space needed to exit planet Earth.
Apollo 1 Fire Commemorative Blockhouse Service, Launch Complex 34 Apollo Saturn Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida January 27, 1994. By Roland Miller.
An interesting juxtaposition presents itself when viewing these mechanical remains—the tranquil, quiet feeling of desertion, the shadow of structurally abandoned America that spread across the country as technology shifted in the later half of the century, all swirling around in the memory of that wide-eyed, shiny, futuristic hope with which the mid-century United States was so inundated. The end of something breathes within these photographs, even if that something technically still lives on.
Launch Control Room, Titan II ICBM Silo 395-C Vandenberg Air Force Base, California 1995. By Roland Miller.
The photos are reminiscent of other great technological abandonments like the wide aircraft boneyards in the Mojave desert, the Maunsell Sea and Air Forts, or the town the gold rush forgot in Bodie, California. Or the haunting yet beautiful remains of Pripyat, Ukraine, ravaged by radiation from Chernobyl.
Humans have built amazing things, and sometimes the size and scope of those endeavors isn't so arresting until you see that represented in its trash, what it's left behind.