Science Art: Orbital Balloon Repair (?), by Philip Bono


In 1960, we started planning to send rockets to Mars… and Philip Bono, a Boeing engineer and designer, started figuring out how they’d work, and how they’d look while they were working.

I’m not sure exactly how this image relates to that project, but here it is in SDASM’s Philip Bono Collection.

As far as I can tell, this is a space-suited repairman working on a balloon that’s leaking at the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. Perhaps it’s meant as a fueling station (Bono’s big idea was reusable rocket stages fueled with liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen). Or it might be a launch station or manufacturing point. Or perhaps this is only tangentially related to a mission to Mars.

At any rate, this painting also appeared as the cover of Worlds of IF: Science Fiction magazine, illustrating a story called “The Slaves of Gree.”

And there is a signature on it: “Fetterly.” Ditto this painting in the collection.