DR. SKY BLOG

Artist plans to launch Orbital Reflector ‘space art’ into orbit next month

Oct 17, 2018, 2:01 PM
(Rendering from Trevor Paglen)...
(Rendering from Trevor Paglen)
(Rendering from Trevor Paglen)

It is thought that there are some 7,900 man made satellites orbiting the Earth, since the first launch of the famous Sputnik 1, back on Oct. 4, 1957!

Low Earth orbit is getting pretty crowded and many more launches are scheduled in the next few years!

Another amazing fact is that only 37.5 percent of the satellites in orbit are active; the rest are old satellites that fill the region above the Earth, known as low Earth orbit.

Many describe these as space junk and will eventually fall from orbit and burn up.

With the United States and Russia being the two nations which have placed most of these objects in space, we will see many more launches in the very near future, from many private space firms like Space X and Blue Origin.

In November, Space X will have a very busy schedule launching a new cluster of tiny satellites known as Cube Sat.

Cube Sat satellites are known as U-Class spacecraft and have dimensions of 10-by-10-by-10 centimeter dimensions. They are to be used to carry scientific experiments into low Earth orbit.

A new and exciting mission known as the Orbital Reflector, the brainchild of author and artist Trevor Paglen, will soon launch a special type of satellite for the entire world to see in the night sky!

Paglen is working with the Nevada Museum of Art and hopes to have the world’s first piece of space art in orbit.

Global Western will be the contractor of the tiny satellite which will once in orbit, open up a reflective Mylar type balloon. The diamond-shaped balloon will be visible to many people as a true representation of space art.

Sculpture in space!

Orbital Reflector will shine down on the Earth from a height of some 350 miles in space.

Paglen believes that he can change “space” into a “place” and create awareness to people down here on Earth, as to the wonders and joy that is brought to us by the vast heavens and art!

A November launch date is on the horizon, with a Falcon 9 rocket delivering the Cube Sat satellites into space.

I will look into the date and times of passage of Orbital Reflector in future Dr. Sky updates, so you can view this interesting object, from your backyard!

Listen to Dr. Sky on KTAR News 92.3 FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

To print your very own monthly star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.

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Artist plans to launch Orbital Reflector ‘space art’ into orbit next month