The Ars Technica article As mega-constellations loom, US seeks to manage space debris problem uses this beautiful drawing of current and future spacecraft from a circa 1978 perspective. It's been used in several articles over the years and is licensed by Getty, here's that link. The caption there reads:

NASA Artist's Impression

Artist's impression depicting a wide variety of existing and future satellites, satellites for surveying Earth resources and mapping them, communication satellites, orbiting platforms, various types of space stations, solar power satellites and astronomical observatories, highlighting the danger that the geosynchronous orbit is becoming crowded and that orbital debris must be more carefully considered as space becomes more crowded, circa 1978. (Photo by Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

Since the words "NASA Artist's Impression" appear, I've included that in the title.

Who is the artist? Or at least what is the division or organization within NASA at the time who produced this?

I wonder if there is any surviving documentation that might contain a key listing which spacecraft or missions or projects are depicted by each of the several dozen different items?

Artist's impression variety existing and future satellites Getty


Like (I assume) you, I was unable to get any further than the Getty Images page. However, I'd be willing to bet that the original artist was Davis Paul Meltzer. Much of this is based on the fact that similar works on the NASA site list him as the artist, and that he was a prolific artist. Here is one example, of the Apollo-Soyuz test project enter image description here


Gizmodo wrote a short article about him in 2014, he worked for NASA and National Geographic, created stamps for the USPS, and painted dozens of sci-fi book covers.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Wow this is a really wonderful answer, thank you! I noticed that the Gizmodo article starts out with "In the fourth piece of our series on legendary aerospace artists..." Once again there goes my productivity for the day... $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 22 '18 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ Do you have any thoughts on the media used? Colored pencil perhaps? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jun 22 '18 at 7:05

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