View Full Version : Rocket Lab launched a secret payload into space last weekend

01-24-2018, 01:19 PM
Rocket Lab launched a secret payload into space last weekend (ARTICLE LINK) (https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/rocket-lab-launched-a-secret-payload-into-space-last-weekend/)


Image: Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, is shown with the Humanity Star.
Credit: Rocket Lab

Last weekend Rocket Lab successfully reached orbit for the first time with its Electron booster. Before the launch from New Zealand, the company publicized a handful of commercial payloads on board. But it turns out the rocket also carried a secret payload into space at the behest of the company's founder, Peter Beck.

This was the "Humanity Star," a disco ball-like geodesic sphere, which measures about 1 meter in diameter. It served no business purpose, but rather reflected Beck's philosophy that by going into space humans can improve our lives on Earth. With his first orbital launch, Beck wanted to make a statement by putting a bright object into space that people back on Earth could observe.

"The whole point of the program is to get everybody looking up at the star, but also past the star into the universe, and reflect about the fact that weíre one species, on one planet," Beck told Ars in an interview before the launch. "This is not necessarily part of the Rocket Lab program; itís more of a personal program. Itís certainly consistent with our goal of trying to democratize space."

Beck said the idea came to him after talking to people, who would tell them what street they lived on, or their country or origin. They knew where they lived on planet Earth, but had no concept of where they were in the Solar System or the universe. And it's just a big, wide universe waiting to be explored, he felt. "Itís perplexing to me that as a species we donít think about anything beyond our little sphere," Beck said.

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Foster Price
01-24-2018, 02:12 PM
I've only met Peter Beck briefly once (he hails from the small NZ city where I live) but I knew and worked with his father, Russel.

Russel was a quiet giant in an intellectual sense, and he left our province with many public sculptures (and other works including a massive volume of local history) that just like the "Humanity Star" speak to us about ourselves every day.

Chris Smith porter maine
01-24-2018, 04:05 PM
Not sure how I feel about space bling.