The Orbital Reflector, the first satellite ever to exist only as an art object, is set to launch from Vandenberg Air Force base today, Dec. 3, at 10:32 a.m. PST.
The art piece, created by Trevor Paglen, will go into space with the SSO-A SmallSat Express aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket via Spaceflight Industries.
According to the Nevada Museum of Art’s website, when Paglen imagined launching a reflective, nonfunctional satellite into low Earth orbit, the museum understood that his artistic gesture could help to change the way humanity sees our place in the world.
Orbital Reflector is made of a lightweight polyethylene material that looks like thin plastic. It is housed in a small box-like infrastructure known as a CubeSat that will be launched into space on board a rocket. Once in orbit, about 350 miles from Earth, the CubeSat will open and release the sculpture that will self-inflate. The reflective titanium dioxide powder that coats the inside of the sculpture will reflect the sun and be visible from Earth with the naked eye. It will look like a slowly moving artificial star as bright as a star in the Big Dipper.
Anyone can follow along online by watching a live stream of the event at spacex.com/webcast or by getting updates through the project website at orbitalreflector.com.
The museum will also be providing real-time updates through social media accounts at @nevadaart.
Other ways to engaged in the Orbital Reflector journey
FOLLOW: Use the star map and get project updates at orbitalreflector.com
TRACK: Download Star Walk2 (paid version) (free version) and prepare to track the satellite.
ENAGE: @TrevorPaglen @NevadaArt #OrbitalReflectort