Space art: Trevor Paglen’s “Orbital Reflector” sculpture to launch in 2018

Artist Trevor Paglen is designing a work of art that will go into orbit. The Orbital Reflector will launch as a secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in the spring of 2018. In collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art they have a Kickstarter campaign underway. With 8 days to go, $61,787 has been pledged towards a goal of $70,000 goal. 

Art is about taking risks. Join us as we become the first artist-museum team to launch a sculptural satellite into space.

A couple of years ago, contemporary artist Trevor Paglen approached the Nevada Museum of Art with a bold idea: launch the first satellite into space that would exist purely as an artistic gesture. The Museum knew that his radical vision — Orbital Reflector — could help to change the way we see our place in the world. Orbital Reflector is a satellite that 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.

“Design concept rendering for Trevor Paglen: Orbital Reflector, co-produced and presented by the Nevada Museum of Art, 2017”

More about the project:


Video: Spacecraft Bonanza! – The Planetary Post with Robert Picardo

Here is the Planetary Society‘s latest Planetary Post video with Robert Picardo:

From the caption:

William Shatner sends a message to Voyager 1, Cassini crashes into Saturn, asteroid-seeking OSIRIS-REx gets a gravity assist, and The Planetary Society’s citizen-funded solar sailing spacecraft LightSail® 2 is making news again. Robert Picardo is here to tell you all about it in this month’s Planetary Post. Get space updates delivered straight to your inbox:


Here is the full video  mentioned by Picardo that shows an animation of the LightSail 2 spacecraft development and launch.



Video: SpaceX plans to build a huge new rocket vehicle for low cost space travel

Elon Musk gave a talk today at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2017) in Adelaide, Australia in which he described the design of a new SpaceX rocket system, informally called the BFR (e.g. “Big Freaking Rocket”). The company will soon start building the BFR with the goal of uncrewed flights to Mars by 2022 and crewed flights in 2024. The system can also be used to launch satellites, take crews and cargo to the International Space Station, and carry out missions to the lunar surface. He even talked about using it for 30 minute passenger flights between any two points on earth.

Here is Elon’s talk, which he titled, “Making Life Multiplanetary“:

An artist’s view of a BFR spaceship module on the Moon:

Here is a video showing how the vehicle could be used for point-to-point commercial transport on earth.

“Fly to most places on Earth in under 30 mins and anywhere in under 60. Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft. Forgot to mention that.” – Elon Musk

A brief clip showing a Mars base enabled by the BFR growing into a city:

SpaceX has credibility for such aspirations because the company has proven it can do things that were not considered feasible by many in the space industry even just a few years ago. Here, for example, is a compilation of clips showing the 16 successful landings so far of the SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage boosters:

Update: Astronomer Scott Manley of the Kerbal Space Program rocket simulator gives his view of the BFR:

And here is the Everyday Astronaut‘s take on the plan:


Video: NASA art contest for kids 4 to 12 – Winning entries to go in commercial crew calendar

NASA is sponsoring a space art contest for kids ages 4-12 on the theme of astronauts flying on commercial crew vehicles to the ISS: Commercial Crew 2018 Calendar Artwork Contest | NASA

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is partnering with private companies to develop new spacecraft to fly astronauts on NASA missions to the International Space Station, and we want kids to have a fun way to learn more about this program while being creative!

The Commercial Crew Program is holding an artwork contest from Oct. 2 to Nov. 2 for children ages four to 12 years old. The winning artwork will be used to create a 2018 calendar, which has a different space-related theme for each month. The themes educate students about the International Space Station, astronauts, growing food in space and more! Unique and original artwork will be selected for each month. Once the calendar is complete, it will be transmitted to astronauts aboard the space station. The calendar also will include supplemental education materials for kids here on Earth to learn more about the space-related themes. 

Go to for more information about the competition’s themes, rules and deadlines plus the entry form. Get your parent’s permission, of course!