This weekend, the Nevada Museum of Art along with artist Trevor Paglen, is set to launch a satellite with no military, commercial or scientific purpose. Unlike most satellites sent into space the reason for this project, called Orbital Reflector, is to make you think.
After three years in production, it will be the first satellite ever to exist only as an art object. This lightweight sculpture will ride into space aboard Spaceflight Industries SSO-A SmallSat Express, on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County along with approximately 70 other satellites. It is expected to be the largest U.S. satellite launch mission in history.
Classrooms across northern Nevada have been eagerly awaiting this launch. The Nevada Museum of Art partnered with Great Basin Observatory and UNR’s Fleischmann Planetarium to create a curriculum around Orbital Reflector. Students can study the project to learn about art, photography, engineering, physics and earth space science. Several hundred teachers have attended training to implement this curriculum in their classrooms and lesson plans are also available through the Orbital Reflector Education Platform (https://www.orbitalreflector.com/educators/).
The launch, initially scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th, is now expected to take place on Saturday, December 1, 2018. Museum educators will be on hand to speak and answer questions about the launch at the Nevada Museum of Art which is open to the general public and also to two lucky fourth grade classes at Veterans Elementary STEM, both located in Reno.
Anyone can follow along online by watching a live stream of the event at https://www.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.