Roland Miller has been photographing space exploration-related facilities for more than 25 years. His Abandoned In Place project is a photographic exploration of the now-deserted American space launch and research facilities that played a crucial role in the early period of space exploration.

Abandoned space facilities
V2 launch site with Hermes A-1 rocket, launch complex 33 gantry, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, 2006Roland Miller

His photos record a vanishing era in both the space race and the cold war. The facilities photographed in Abandoned In Place represent one of the most historic and technical adventures of the last century – from our first unmanned flights beyond the atmosphere to landing men on the moon.

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Horizontal gantry from base, Gemini Titan Complex 19, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1991Roland Miller
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Mobile service tower platforms, Atlas Launch Complex 36B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 2005Roland Miller
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Apollo Saturn F1 engine cluster diptych, Nasa Johnson Space Centre, Texas, 1996Roland Miller
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Telemetry receivers, strip chart recorders, and tape recorders, Blockhouse, Redstone Launch Complex 26, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 2000Roland Miller
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Launch ring, Launch Complex 34 (Apollo Saturn), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1990Roland Miller
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Launch ring restored, Apollo Saturn Complex 34, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 2000Roland Miller

A sense of the urgency of the space race is evident in many of the images. Signs and labels in the images reflect the technology of the era.

The structures depicted also recall the darker threat of nuclear war. Some of the images describe a future that could have been if the cold war had heated up.

Abandoned space facilities
Gemini, Mercury, and Apollo test models, Spin Test Tunnel Office, Nasa Langley Research Centre, Virginia, 1997Roland Miller
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Wind tunnel test chamber with model, 7 X 10 foot wind tunnel, Nasa Langley Research Centre, Virginia, 1997Roland Miller
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Fan motor housing, 7 X 10 foot wind tunnel, Nasa Langley Research Centre, Virginia, 1997Roland Miller
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Shelter dome, Rubber Room, Launch Pad 39B, Kennedy Space Centre, Florida, 1996Roland Miller
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Blockhouse, Apollo Saturn Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1992Roland Miller

He says: "The blockhouses, launch towers, tunnels, test stands, and control rooms featured in Abandoned In Place are rapidly giving way to the elements and demolition. By my estimates, fully half of the facilities I have photographed no longer exist. The costs involved in restoring, maintaining, and securing these sites are enormous. Most of these historic facilities are located on secure military or Nasa facilities, which drastically limits access by the public. Therefore, photography is the only practical method to preserve and portray these historic locations."

His photos serve not only as a documentary, but also as an artistic interpretation of these sites. He uses a combination of documentary and abstract images.

Abandoned space facilities
Fuel tank, Lunar Module, Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Centre, Kansas, 2002Roland Miller
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Liquid fuel tank support, Apollo Saturn Complex 37, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1993Roland Miller
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Flooded room beneath Pad 19, Gemini Titan Complex 19, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1992Roland Miller
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Flame deflector tracks, Apollo Saturn Complex 34, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, 1992Roland Miller

Abandoned in Place will be published by the University of New Mexico Press in 2015. Please visit the Kickstarter website to support this project.