Mayak, the crowd funded Russian satellite nearing launch

March 1, 2016 by Bob Yirka, report
Mayak, the crowd funded Russian satellite nearing launch

Russian engineers working on the Mayak crowd funded satellite project have announced that the satellite is nearing a launch date—once in space, the team claims that it will be the most visible object in the night sky.

The has been instigated by engineers and others with the University of Mechanical Engineering in Moscow. The team reported that they had collected a million and a half rubles (approximately USD 20,000) via the Boomstarter crowd-funding site which has been added to other donations—together, it has been enough to build and test the .

The project has three main goals, the first is to prove that such an effort can work, i.e. that crowd-funding can be used to pay for research projects. The team wants to show that is no longer confined to just governments or wealthy groups or individuals—and that going forward, most any group or person with a passion for space exploration can start a project and get it funded. The second goal is for the satellite to do its job, which is to unfurl and use its large swath of reflectors to reflect rays from the sun back to Earth—which will make it the brightest object in the night sky. Mayak was designed and built at UME. The third goal, which requires further funding, is to build an aerodynamic braking system for satellites that can be used to bring them back down to Earth, removing the need to add an engine. As a side project, the team also has plans to build a model of the Mayak satellite to be housed in Moscow's Museum of Cosmonautics.

As with other crowd-funding projects, interested donors were given several options, from donating as little as 300 rubles (USD 5) to 2,500, to 300,000 (USD 4,000). Giving more money meant gaining more access to the project and the people working on it, with the top group receiving an invitation to watch the launch on-site.

The team notes that like other satellite projects, users who wish to do so will be able to follow the path of the satellite using a smart phone application. The has also announced that its partner, the Russian Space launch company, Roscosmos, has confirmed that Mayak may be aboard a Soyuz-2 rocket as early as the middle of this year.

Explore further: Students to build a third space debris observation satellite

Related Stories

Russia successfully launches satellite with Proton rocket

September 14, 2015

Russia on Monday successfully launched a Proton rocket, carrying a Russian telecoms satellite, from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in the second successful launch since the disastrous loss of a Mexican satellite in ...

ASTRO-H satellite ready for launch

January 14, 2016

On 12 January 2016, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) presented their ASTRO-H satellite to the media at the Tanegashima Space Center, situated on a small island in the south of Japan. The satellite, developed ...

Recommended for you

Unconfirmed near-Earth objects

June 22, 2018

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are small solar system bodies whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, potentially threatening a collision. NEOs are tracers of the composition, dynamics and environmental conditions ...

HESS J1943+213 is an extreme blazar, study finds

June 21, 2018

An international group of astronomers have carried out multi-wavelength observations of HESS J1943+213 and found evidence supporting the hypothesis that this gamma-ray source is an extreme blazar. The finding is reported ...

'Red nuggets' are galactic gold for astronomers

June 21, 2018

About a decade ago, astronomers discovered a population of small, but massive galaxies called "red nuggets." A new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that black holes have squelched star formation in these ...

The Rosetta stone of active galactic nuclei deciphered

June 21, 2018

A galaxy with at least one active supermassive black hole – named OJ 287 – has caused many irritations and questions in the past. The emitted radiation of this object spans a wide range – from the radio up to the highest ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3.4 / 5 (10) Mar 01, 2016
Great! We have so much light pollution now that most people have no idea what's out there by looking up at night. Now the Russians are going to put a "bright light" into the dark sky to block out even more. What a disaster. 100 years ago, everyone could point out the most interesting and obvious objects out there because the sky was dark thus the stars etc were very bright and easy to see. Today, people look at you like you're a professional astronomer because you can point out a few planets for them. That's a very sad situation. Thanks a lot Russia, let's make it even brighter at night!
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 02, 2016
Thanks for making research by astronomers even harder. Science-illiterate clods.
3 / 5 (4) Mar 02, 2016
With a reported sixteen m^2 of reflective space; the actual illumination provided to the globe would be trivial compared with natural celestial sources... but what a silly "experiment" - to demonstrate what exactly?
not rated yet Mar 02, 2016
The team wants to show that space exploration is no longer confined to just governments or wealthy groups or individuals—and that going forward, most any group or person with a passion for space exploration can start a project and get it funded. - article

vlaaing peerd
3 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2016
Well, well. "The second goal is .... make it the brightest object in the night sky."

So the goal, apart from getting it funded, which it did so there is no further need of actually shooting the damn bugger into space, is to make the brightest object in the night sky.

So crowdfunding enabled probably the most useless object going into space ever, yay for crowdfunding then...
5 / 5 (3) Mar 02, 2016
It's a prototype. A proof of concept.

When Sputnik 1 was launched into orbit it was visible all around the world. Just a shiny metal ball that beeped a few radio signals. And started a new phase in human exploration.

The NASA Echo satellites were just a big inflated shiny ball.

Crikey, nowadays the reason kids go look at the night sky is for an unusual event. A comet or the space station. Those dozen little white dot stars visible from a city are boring.

Hopefully they launch lots of Mayak with different colours.

Joie De Vivre

5 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2016
@bluehigh Just because you can only see a "dozen little white dot stars" so they are boring you're admitting the problem yet instead of saying "let's learn to dim down our cities" you're advocating "many coloured lights" from these Russian dudes. We're not looking for methods to turn the dark side of our planet into a daytime experience. It needs to be returned to a proper "nighttime experience".
not rated yet Mar 04, 2016
Input needed. While on a trip across this great nation in 2012, my son and I noticed an almost massive conversion to yellow lites from white lites for common street and shopping center lites. When I got to thinking about it, this yellow is similar to firelight. This change was being done quietly all across the nation with no word as to why. I know! I asked public officials about it when I could and got no answer, no real answer except vague references to federal government confidential order. Get the same answer in Canada AND Mexico except in those countries you get followed for even asking.

Just WHAT is our government and the neighbors doing? Trying to make the planet look pre-industrial to far off spectral scans? Why? What are they afraid of??
5 / 5 (2) Mar 05, 2016
^tin foil hat alert.
5 / 5 (1) Mar 06, 2016
A far more ambitious plan was pursued some time ago:

Russians to Test Space Mirror As Giant Night Light for Earth (January 12, 1993)

Znamya (satellite) - Wikipedia

The Man who Turned Night into Day

not rated yet Mar 06, 2016
We're not looking for methods to turn the dark side of our planet into a daytime experience. It needs to be returned to a proper "nighttime experience".
I prefer our white nights in June where we have parties continue nonstop. Of course this does provoke thought patterns that some might view as disruptive to the unipolar West

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.