Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck with the Humanity Star
Image Rocket Lab
26 January, 2018, 02:37
Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck says the system opens up significantly more orbital options, particularly for rideshare customers that have traditionally been limited to the primary payload's designated orbit. Orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes and visible to the naked eye from anywhere on the globe, the Humanity Star is created to be a bright symbol and reminder to all on Earth about our fragile place in the universe.
When the Electron rocket of the US-New Zealand spaceflight start-up Rocket Lab blasted off from the launch pad for its second flight, it brought good news for everyone related to the missions.
The Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made of 65 mirror panels.
Beck said he wanted the star to help people understand and improve life on Earth. The Humanity Star is to remind us of this.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck stands with his creation, "The Humanity Star", now shining from Earth orbit. He hopes the satellite will become a focal point for humanity, and will serve as a reminder for people to look past their daily concerns and to face larger challenges like climate change and resource shortages.
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"Yes, it can definitely be the brightest object in the night sky, if it catches the light 'just right, ' and if it's tumbling fast enough that should happen pretty often in all directions", Jim Clark, a graduate student at MIT's STARlab, told Quartz.
The mission tested a previously unannounced apogee kick stage on the launch vehicle, using it to circularise the orbits of the two Spire Lemur-2 CubeSats. Once it reaches an orbit of 300 by 500 km (186 by 310 mi), it will spend the next nine months there reflecting the light of the Sun back to Earth. Inside the cargo bay of their rocket, named Electron, was the typical selection of satellites meant for deployment around the globe, as well as one unusual, and particularly shiny object that they kept a secret until now: the Humanity Star. It weighs about 8kg and will burn up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, leaving no trace in space or on Earth, Beck said.
The previously undisclosed satellite is called the Humanity Star, named after its inspirational goal.
New Zealand Post's Head of Stamps and Coins, Simon Allison, says this is an incredible moment for New Zealand as we make space history for the very first time. Beyond launching a weird art project, Rocket Lab achieved some more practical milestones like performing the first liftoff in New Zealand or the Southern Hemisphere, for that matter.
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