Russian Satellite Will Launch In Two Weeks, Will Be The Brightest Star In Sky

Authored by Mac Slavo via,

(ABOVE: An artist’s rendition of the Russian Mayak satellite.)

Mayak, a Russian satellite that will become one of the brightest stars in the night sky, is just two weeks away from launching into space.  Their goal is to make the unique satellite bright with the use of a giant reflective sheet of material, but some scientists are warning that there may be negative consequences.

The satellite is small, roughly the size of a loaf of bread and in the form of a CubeSat.  It will be launched on a Soyuz 2.1v vehicle on Friday, July 14, from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, as a secondary payload. The project, led by Moscow State Mechanical Engineering University (MAMI), raised more than $30,000 on Russian crowdfunding website Boomstarter.

Once in orbit, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) high, the satellite is designed to unfurl a giant pyramid-shaped solar reflector.


The goal is for this satellite to shine brighter than any other star in the night sky. To do this, its reflector made of Mylar will span 16 square meters (170 square feet) and is apparently 20 times thinner than human hair. The mission is also acting as a technology demonstration, to test how to brake satellites in orbit and de-orbit them.

“Mayak,” which translates to “Beacon” in English is controversial though.  

“We want to show that space exploration is something exciting and interesting, but most importantly that today it is accessible to everybody who is interested,” project leader Alexander Shaenko said, reported Sputnik News.  Mayak’s only mission is to be bright and remove defunct satellites from earth’s orbit.

But it runs the risk of a backlash from scientific and environmental groups, depending on how bright it is. Some, like Russia Today, have suggested it may shine as bright as the Moon, although that is questionable.  Nonetheless, if it is excessively bright, it could cause havoc for astronomers who rely on darkness to observe the universe.

“We fight so hard for dark skies in and around our planet,” Nick Howes, an astronomer and former deputy director of the Kielder Observatory in Northumberland, told IFLScience.


“To see this being potentially ruined by some ridiculous crowdfunded nonsense makes my heart simply despair.”

Skeptics won’t keep the satellite from launching though. Russia will put Mayak in space in about two weeks, on July 14.  We’ll have to wait to see just how bright it is and if it’s bright enough to warrant complaints from scientists.


Manthong alurker Fri, 06/30/2017 - 01:43 Permalink

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";
In case you haven’t noticed, newer streetlight installations in your community likely are lower and a bit dimmer than older installations. The vogue in community planning nowadays is to cut down on “light pollution”. I kid you not. Maybe if we can make the US more like North Korea in the terrestrial illumination department they will finally be happy.

In reply to by alurker

WernerHeisenberg Manthong Fri, 06/30/2017 - 02:28 Permalink

Children, what part of de-orbit experiment is so difficult to understand?  The good old USA launched even larger mylar balloons in the 1960s, I remember watching them.  They were not that bright.  They also succumbed to orbital decay, as you would expect from something very big and light: This is an improvment over Echo.  The Echo satellites were round balloons, completely inflated, with pounds of air inside.  This is more like a tent with inflatable poles, very clever and much lighter.  And that is why it looks like a tentPPS:  This is not an illuminati pyramid with a square base, it is a tetrahedron with 4 identical triangular sides.  The pyramid description is FAKE NEWS:

In reply to by Manthong

fx WernerHeisenberg Fri, 06/30/2017 - 02:49 Permalink

"I see a brightness war on the horizon.....Every other country will be trying to out do each other with brighter and brighter satellites."

It's the reflection of an inverse process in politics - where a race to bottom- un-brightiness has been going on for quite a while between cuntries. Germany had taken the lead with Merkel, only to see France outdo them with Hollande. And Trump is trying hard to get to the bottom top spot...
Putin of course spoils that party but let's see what dimwit might actually succeed him. My prayers are of course, that they can find another decent, humble and bright mind in Russia to take over from Putin

In reply to by WernerHeisenberg

DownWithYogaPants jefferson32 Fri, 06/30/2017 - 07:09 Permalink

Interesting story:  Mount Graham near Tucson Arizona: The astronomy crowd wanted an observatory on top.  Many fought that on the grounds of it not being the best place for a telescope and environmental reasons.  It's a nice spot so it got rammed through.  Lesson: These astronomers seem to only think of themselves.  As much as I love science and particularly astrophysics I can not stand government and pseudo-government types.If only the Russians would have named this satellite Trump One.  Good god it would be like peanut butter in my chocolate.  No no it would be like chocolate in my peanut butter.  First of all I think it will be cool to see this satellite shining bright.  A second dose of pleasure when the idiots gnash their teeth about it.Attention ObamaFone Users:  This satellite will be equipped for free cell service only available on ObamaFones.  Simply access the menu for free calls with the GreenToofs link.  This can be accessed by going to:  SETTINGS > wIRELESS AND NETWORK > GreenToofs > Turn on GreenToofs

In reply to by jefferson32

Lucretius DownWithYogaPants Fri, 06/30/2017 - 12:07 Permalink

I look at Mt. Graham daily, it is my view to the north. Beautiful! Been watching it burn for the last week and a half! Soooo pleased to have liberal demtards "managing" nature for us! The fire was almost completely out on Tuesday due to a lovely afternoon rain storm, almost an inch and with pea sized hail, down here in the Sulpher Springs Valley. Friday morning and it is still ablaze! If you enjoy the stars, here is one of the best sites I know of, one can see the milky way every night of the year that is cloud free. The Mrs. and I enjoy cocktails every evening on the deck, watch the sunset and then the stars. I'm sure we'll enjoy the Russian mennace as well! At 4300' elevation we're much cooler than Pooson, rural, NOT a sanctuary shity, 17 miles from a town of less than 5K! Clean air, pure good water! Mt. Graham reaches 10700'.

In reply to by DownWithYogaPants

EddieLomax Manthong Fri, 06/30/2017 - 02:56 Permalink

Light pollution is a real thing, previous streetlamps just upped the power constantly ending up with a lot of the light just going upwards.I'd prefer to be able to look at the stars than have everything lit up like daytime at night, the newer streetlamps here are good in that regard, LED, they are dimmer on the ground but due to the colour of the light cover a much greater radius and are much easier to see by.Sometimes technology does make life better.

In reply to by Manthong

RockySpears EddieLomax Fri, 06/30/2017 - 04:12 Permalink

You should see the new lighting in the UK.  They are using LED set-ups and my garden is now almost as bright as daytime. No need for burglars to have a torch, the Council have provided the little scrotes with all the illumination they need. BUT apparently it is only on particular wave lengths that can easily be filtered out by astronomers, so that's great, isn't it. RS

In reply to by EddieLomax

DownWithYogaPants bluez Fri, 06/30/2017 - 07:13 Permalink

Do you often get your rectal ganglia stimulated?Light pollution is a problem but more in the atmosphere were it gets diffused and spread throughout the entire sky.  With this satellite being beyond the atmosphere it is a pinpoint and not as much and issue. Some diffusion will occur but I have to assume it will be directional and likely intermittent depending on if the mylar is at the right angle to mirror the sun to your spot on Earth.

In reply to by bluez