Mayak, the Russian reflector satellite, will soon be launched. The researchers behind it intend it to become the most conspicuous object in our sky, brighter than the stars!
The Mayak (which translates as “beacon”) project is the brainchild of a team of engineers and space enthusiasts from Moscow University of Mechanical Engineering. The solar-synchronised satellite consists of a 16-square-meter tetrahedron reflector that is meant to bounce back sun rays as the Earth orbits around it. This should make Mayak the brightest object in the night sky.
The satellite project has been made possible by the crowdfunding site Boomstarter. It has raised around 1.8 million rubles already; the money was invested for the construction and testing of the satellite. The group might soon be able to launch the satellite.
One of the aims of the team is to prove that endeavours of this nature, dealing with space research, can be furthered through crowdfunding, thus demonstrating that individuals can go forward with space exploration, as opposed to the notion that it is only within the grasp of governments and wealth individuals. And, of course, the team also aims for the satellite to work.
The team’s ambitions are not restricted to just this project. They hope to build an atmospheric braking system that could steer satellites (including Mayak) into the Earth’s atmosphere; satellites would thus be recovered without needing retro-rockets.