When a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, north of Santa Barbara, California, its payload will include 64 small satellites from 34 organizations and 17 countries, each having paid launch broker Spaceflight Industries a hefty fee to be blasted 350 miles up and released into low earth orbit. Most of these satellites are destined to carry out some utilitarian purpose, be it communications, observation, or science. But there is one small satellite among them that aims to do nothing more than entice people around the world to enact a primal, atavistic urge: to look up at the night sky and wonder what’s out there. It’s April, and that satellite’s creator, the artist Trevor Paglen, is sitting in the lobby of a Hampton Inn in West Covina, California, 20 miles east of downtown LA, explaining the rationale behind the project he’s calling the Orbital Reflector. “The point for me really was to create a kind of catalyst for looking at the sky and thinking about everything from planets to satellites to space junk to public space and asking, ‘What does it mean to be on this planet?’” says Paglen, who has come to California to witness… Read full this story
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