Tuesday, 27 October 2009

An incredible story about paper ...from Space!

In February 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up on re-entry from space over Texas. Seven astronauts lost their lives and because of the type of altitude and explosion most of the shuttle and contents were simply vaporised.

However, incredibly, paper survived ... and not just any paper, but parts of the personal journal of one of the astronauts, Ilan Ramon from Israel. Amazingly these charred remains floated down to earth and were found two months later in Texas swampland. The highly degraded and damp papers, written in Hebrew, were given to his widow Rona Ramon. She recognised that they were a personal account rather than technical references and they were passed on to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and Forensic science department of the Israel police for preservation and restoration.

Remarkably and in some cases character by character, sections of this remarkable diary have been reconstructed, the process having taken months and months of dedicated work.

To celebrate this miracle, a limited edition of "facsimile" diaries has been produced for the Ramon family in a boxed set which contains a replica notebook incorporating the found and restored sections of the journal and a booklet describing the reconstruction of the Space Diary.

It has been designed and produced by Ornan Rotem and Num Stibbe from Sylph Editions here in the UK. It is not published as a commercial project but as a labour of love as they are friends of the Ramon family.

It is not available for sale as this was very much a private project for the Ramon family but it is a privilege to be able to tell the story and show you the pictures.

It was an amazing job to have been involved with, the story being so fascinating but also incredibly sad as sections of this highly personal journal describe his private feelings about being in Space and how much he is looking forward to being reunited with his family after landing back on Earth.

The project was digitally printed by Good News Press on an Indigo digital press and was printed on Neptune Unique SoftWhite. The facsimile notebook has been bound using nylon cords supplied by NASA which is how the original notebook was bound.



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