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Clearly not a duplicate! of Why does the International Space Station have a downward facing light?


This answer to How does the Starlink satellite shine? begins with

Starlink (and other satellites) categorically do not have exterior lights or illumination, that would be a waste of power for no particular benefit.

and that got me thinking. FITSat-1 was a 1U cubesat and had a bunch of LEDs on its exterior. It was programmed to blink Morse code and designed to be visible to people on the ground.

Question: Is this the only case of a satellite equipped with lights designed to be seen by people on Earth? I'm primarily asking about satellites that were built and ready to fly rather than plans or designs.

From eoPoportal's FITSat-1 (Fukuoka Institute of Technology CubeSat) / Niwaka

FITSat-1 (Fukuoka Institute of Technology CubeSat)

FITSat-1 (Fukuoka Institute of Technology CubeSat)

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  • $\begingroup$ No it does not answer my question, because I have asked "Have any satellites..." $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 22 '19 at 4:42
  • $\begingroup$ @JacobKrall No it does not answer my question, because I have not asked about the ISS. Can you consider having another look and if you also determine that those answers do not answer my question, retracting your close vote? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 27 '19 at 5:43
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove but answers to a question about downward facing lights on the ISS will not cover the N-1 satellites that are not the ISS. "satellites" ≠ "ISS" $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 10 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove my intent at that time was to avoid the question getting closed as duplicate of a question that was limited to only the ISS. This question does not restrict which satellite can be an answer, so it's not a duplicate. If you click the post history button (under the bookmark button) you can see the close vote. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 10 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ @RussellBorogove it is not my intent. My intent is to not name, include, or exclude any other particular satellite. All satellites are on the table except for one: "besides FITSat-1". Imagine the following question: A: "How many people in the US voted for X?". B: "Why do you ask such a personal question?" A: "I didn't ask about you." B: "I voted, and I am a person. Do you want to exclude me?" A: "I didn't ask about you. I asked about people in the US." B: "Well if it's your intent not to ask about me, why not simply say 'apart from you'?" $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Aug 10 at 23:33
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Humanity Star

According to Wikipedia:

Humanity Star was a passive satellite designed to produce flares visible from Earth. Its shape was a geodesic sphere about 1 metre (3 ft) in diameter, similar to a large disco ball. It was launched into polar orbit on an Electron rocket by Rocket Lab in January 2018 and reentered the atmosphere on 22 March 2018. According to Rocket Lab, it was meant to be "a bright symbol and reminder to all on Earth about our fragile place in the universe".

enter image description here

While it was not equipped with lights, it was equipped with mirrors designed to shine the Sun's light back at the Earth. I'm surprised I didn't hear about this when it happened.

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  • $\begingroup$ You would have if you were here a while back: five questions tagged humanitystar and one in Math SE, also here’s three about Mayak (Маяк) 1, 2, 3 and one about the Orbital Reflector. But here I've asked about lights rather than mirrors. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Dec 21 '19 at 3:35

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