Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck has put an 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.
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.
Beck said he wanted the star to help people understand and improve life on Earth.
''The Humanity Star is a reminder to all on Earth about our fragile position in the universe. The project aims to draw people's eyes up and encourage them to look past day-to-day issues and consider a bigger picture, including the role space will play in the future of our species,'' he said.
"We must come together as a species to solve the really big issues like climate change and resource shortages."
The Humanity Star orbits the Earth every 90 minutes and is visible from everywhere on the planet at different times.
''If all the theory goes to plan then it should be one of the brightest objects in the night sky,'' said Beck.
The star, like the first Electron flights, is a test.
"Testing things on Earth is one thing of course, but how it performs in orbit and how visible it will be is yet to be proven. We will look to refine and launch more Humanity Stars in future,'' Beck said.
It will orbit the Earth for about nine months before its orbit starts to decay and it is pulled back into the Earth's gravity. It weighs about 8kg and will burn up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, leaving no trace in space or on Earth, Beck said.
The Humanity Star's location, including when it will be visible from different regions of the planet, will be viewable at a dedicated website. The website, www.TheHumanityStar.com, is already live and open to the public.
''This is New Zealand's first satellite and for me that's a tremendous responsibility — so it better be a good one.'' Beck told the Herald.
Rocket Lab created history on Sunday, becoming the first company to reach orbit from a private launch facility.
It hopes to launch up to once a week carrying small satellites when in full commercial operation.