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There's a new (artificial) star in the sky

25/01/2018
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Peer up into the night sky at some point within the next few months and you might spot a new star in the sky.

Rocket Lab, a US spaceflight start-up, has been building a new rocket which it launched this past weekend. During the launch of that rocket, the company took the opportunity to deploy three commercial satellites into orbit- one of which is called the ‘Humanity Star’.
The Humanity Star is the brainchild of Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck.
(Image via Rocket Lab).

Made by Rocket Lab’s CEO Peter Beck, the Humanity Star resembles a 1970s-era disco ball and (perhaps because of this resemblance) will be “the brightest thing in the night sky”.

The Humanity Star is a 3-foot-wide carbon fibre sphere covered in 65 panels that are designed to reflect the sun’s light. As it orbits, the satellite will also rotate, maximising the amount of light it can reflect to earth. Its orbit varies too, taking it all over the world so that it will be visible from every location on the planet at different times.

If you want to find out where the Humanity Star is currently located, visit the satellite’s very own website, which keeps track of its position in real-time.

Having read this far you might be wondering why anyone would go to the time and expense of launching a ‘star’ into orbit?

Peter Beck explains:

“The goal of the project is to create a shared experience for all of humanity.”

“No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky. Our hope is that everyone looking at the Humanity Star will look past it to the vast expanse of the Universe and think a little differently about their lives, actions, and what is important for humanity.”
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck with the Humanity Star.
(Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck with the Humanity Star. Image via Rocket Lab).

If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of the Humanity Star, then you’ll have to do it at some point within the next 9 months. After this, the satellite’s orbit will decay bringing it falling back to earth. If you’re one of EngineeringPro’s many US-based readers then March will likely be your best chance to see the Humanity Star, when its orbital path will place it directly above the continental United States.
Tags: Engineering
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There's a new (artificial) star in the sky - Time to read 2 min
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