By NICK PERRY | The Associated Press
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Look into the night sky at the right time and you can see what looks like a disco ball twinkling and twinkling backwards.
The founder of the company that launched the first rocket into orbit This week, from New Zealand, he said he deployed a secret satellite that he believes will be the brightest object in the night sky and that he hopes he will remind people of his precarious place in a vast universe.
Peter Beck, the New Zealander who founded Rocket Lab, based in California, says he used most of the space aboard his Test Electron rocket to house an object he has dubbed "Humanity Star." The rocket reached orbit on Sunday.
The satellite, not much larger than a large beach ball, is a geodesic sphere made of carbon fiber with 65 reflective panels. It is designed to rotate rapidly and reflect sunlight on Earth. It is expected to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes in an elliptical pattern, traveling at 27 times the speed of sound.
"The goal is to make people look up and realize they are on a rock in a giant universe," Beck said.
He has great ambitions for his experiment. It expects the satellite to become a focal point for humanity and will serve as a reminder for people to look beyond their daily concerns and face bigger challenges such as climate change and scarce resources.
Beck said he resisted comparing a disco ball, because he wants it to be something more serious.
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"But honestly, yes, it's a giant mirror ball," he said.
Beck said that the object should be remarkable but it will not be much brighter than other stars and satellites and should not distract the aviators or stargazers.
The Star of Humanity is expected to orbit the Earth for about nine months before being returned to Earth's gravity and burned when it re-enters it. the atmosphere. Beck said he hopes to launch future Humanity Stars, but said the project is his particular passion and he will have to wait to see how other people react and also consider whether it is financially viable.
Following the successful launch of the test, Rocket Lab expects to start soon with commercial satellite launches.
The company says that Humanity Star will look better in New Zealand after February and in the US. UU Starting in March due to its changing orbital position. It can be tracked at www.thehumanitystar.com.
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