First Space Sculpture Ready for Launch in October


A shiny new ‘’star’’ will be spotted by the end of October as the world’s first space sculpture will orbit the Earth for around three weeks in the autumn.

Created by US artist Trevor Paglen the ‘’Orbital Reflector’’ is impressive: is has the size of a football field and it is stylized in the space of an elongated diamond. It will be carried into space by a Falcon 9 SpaceX rocket.

Once it reaches the orbit, it will float around the planet once every 90 minutes, being visible in the UK for approximately four times per night, as light will reflect from it.

Paglen has dedicated much of his work to highlighting mass surveillance and data protection. He wants for people to look at sky and reconsider their place in the universe, and for them to admire the first satellite that has no other use except for being an artistic gesture. The idea of putting art in space started in Russia where artist Kazim Malevitch envisioned majestic works of art circles around the world. They were called ‘’sputniks’’ and the name will become synonymous with the world’s first artificial satellite.

The sculpture will be attached to a small satellite, allowing it to orbit Earth for several weeks before disappearing as it will burn-out when in re-entries Earth’s atmosphere. It will look similar to many starts already present on the evening sky, as it will slowly fall towards Earth. The main technical difficulty of the projects stands in preventing collisions with other satellites but the chances have been deemed to be very low and a careful trajectory was designed in order to anticipate such events.

The sculpture will be packed inside an inside a small spacecraft named CubeSat.  It will first reach the International Space Station. At a proper time it will be launched again into space, and once inflated it will be visible for everyone on Earth. A website will tell people when it will be visible in their country.


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