Credit: Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Art


Contemporary artist Trevor Paglen’s Orbital Reflector, the satellite, will have no commercial, military, or scientific purpose. Instead, it will be a public sculpture, visible from the ground without a telescope — a satellite that belongs to everyone, the artist explains.

Credit: Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Art

In partnership with the Nevada Museum of Art and in collaboration with aerospace engineers, Paglen will launch via SpaceX a balloon into orbit as a purely artistic gesture.

“Orbital Reflector is a work of aerospace engineering for aerospace engineering’s sake,” explains Paglen.

Credit: Trevor Paglen/Nevada Museum of Art/Screengrab

Cubesat deployed

Orbital Reflector is a sculpture constructed of a lightweight material similar to Mylar. It is housed within a small box-like CubeSat. Once in low Earth orbit at a distance of about 350 miles (575 kilometers) from Earth, the CubeSat opens and releases the sculpture, which self-inflates like a balloon.

Sunlight reflects onto the sculpture making it visible from Earth with the naked eye — like a slowly moving artificial star as bright as a star in the Big Dipper.

Aerospace firms

Global Western is an aerospace firm working with Trevor Paglen and the Nevada Museum of Art to design and manufacture Orbital Reflector.

Spaceflight Industries will arrange for the launch of Orbital Reflector on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket targeted for Fall 2018.

For more information, go to:

Also, go to this informative video at:

One Response to “Orbital Reflector: Artistic Gesture”

  • David Evans says:

    I think seeing this will be much less exciting than seeing the ISS or an iridium flare, both of which are available free. What is the point?

Leave a Reply