A tech company that will illuminate the night sky with fake shooting stars is almost ready for its unlikely cosmic launch. Astro Live Experiences will launch its tiny satellite, the ALE-2, on November 25, according to the latest reports from Space.com.
Astro Live Experiences is currently running its final test before preparing the first ever fake meteor shower, which will take place early next year. This will illuminate the night sky with what the company promises will be an awe-inspiring display, which will ignite the inky blackness up above the earth.
The satellite launched by Astro Live Experiences will achieve this effect by distributing pallets, approximately 1cm in length, which will then incinerate when they enter the atmosphere of the Earth. From ground level, these pellets will resemble slow-moving shooting stars, and the effect will last roughly in the region of 3-10 seconds.
“With this launch, we are a step closer to realiz[ing] the man-made shooting star,” Astro Live Experiences CEO Lena Okajima told Space.com. “Please look forward to the world’s first demonstration we are aiming [for] in 2020, which will be a major milestone for ALE.”
Six other satellites
The electronic craft that is launching the ALE-2 satellite will also launch six other satellites for a variety of reasons. But the Satellite launched by the Tokyo-based Astro Live Experiences will certainly be the most high profile of these, and one that will garner attention and headlines all over the world.
Once this initial launch has been successful, the Rocket Lab space company intends to increase its operation rapidly, launching Electron rockets at least once a week. These synthetic shooting stars will be highly visible, with the company stating that people will be able to view them over a 125-mile area.
The other six satellites launching Include ATL-1, a Hungarian craft that will be testing a new thermal isolation material, and a Spanish communications satellite, which is small enough to fit in the palm of a human hand.
Although Rocket Lab is confident that the Astro Live Experiences project will be successful, it has taken several years to reach this point. The idea of a fake shooting star display, which is first envisaged in 2001, has taken years of research in order to achieve.
Promotional videos released in relation to the Astro Live Experiences project have already demonstrated how spherical pellets can be fired rapidly from the back of an orbiting satellite. But while a certain amount of details have been released by the developers of the concept, there is one crucial aspect that remains a guarded secret.
Only those involved in the project are aware of the precise material composition of the pellets, with the team behind the Astro Live Experiences show giving no indication of the materials involved, merely that it involves a metal ore.
It will be intriguing to find out whether this artificial display can match the excitement and beauty of real-world space events. But the proof will be in the pudding, and it seems that Astro Live Experiences is indeed very close to going live for the first time.