A Kiwi astronomer has compared New Zealand's Rocket Lab with Donald Trump-era entrepreneurs, after the Peter Beck-founded company's latest space launch.

The New Zealand space company confirmed to the Herald it had launched a flashing disco ball into orbit.

Astronomer Ian Griffin tweeted that New Zealand's first act as a space-faring nation has been to pollute the night sky for all mankind.

He says people should enjoy the night sky while they still can, because it won't be the same for the next nine months.


Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck has put a geodesic sphere into orbit which he hopes will be one of the brightest objects in the night sky.

The ''Humanity Star'' is an oversize carbon fibre sphere much like a disco ball that is one metre in diameter and should be visible with the naked eye anywhere in the world.

What is effectively New Zealand's first satellite, was launched on Sunday on the company's Electron rocket which reached orbit carrying other payload as well.

The Humanity Star has 65 highly reflective panels. The sphere spins rapidly, reflecting the sun's light back to Earth, creating a similar effect as a disco ball that can be seen in the night sky.

The reaction on social media was mixed, ranging from some suggesting it was a "stupid idea" to those who were "proud" of the feat.

Rocket Lab's calculations show Humanity Star will likely be visible in the night sky in New Zealand from late February, though it is still settling into its orbit so the company can't pinpoint it just yet.

Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck celebrates the launch. Photo / Supplied
Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck celebrates the launch. Photo / Supplied

Beck said he wanted the star to help people understand and improve life on Earth.

The Humanity Star orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and is visible from everywhere on the planet at different times.


- additional reporting Grant Bradley