How to see Rocket Lab's 'Humanity Star'

Rocket Lab has revealed the secret payload it sent into orbit in its recent launch. It's a New Zealand-made geodesic sphere, dubbed the 'Humanity Star'.

"Historically when a country sends their first satellite to orbit it's a mark in history," Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck told The AM Show on Thursday.

"For the New Zealand satellite I wanted to make sure every single person in this planet could experience it without any piece of equipment."

Despite being three-foot wide, 500km above our head and travelling 27 times the speed of sound, it's expected to be the brightest thing in the night sky and will be visible to the naked eye. Here's how to view it.

How to see it

The Humanity Star is visible with the naked eye in the night sky from anywhere on Earth at dawn or dusk as it passes overhead.

You can track its voyage here to see when it will next be above you.

Mr Beck says it will be easy to spot.

"There will be one star that's a little bit brighter than everyone else and it will be the only star that's blinking."

It should be bright enough to see even through city lights.

How does it work?

It resembles a disco ball with 65 reflective panels.

"The Humanity Star sphere spins rapidly, reflecting the sun's light back to Earth. Essentially it creates a similar effect as a disco ball, creating the appearance of a bright flashing shooting star," Rocket Lab says.

"The concept of the Humanity Star was in part inspired by the Iridium flare phenomenon. Widely considered to be the brightest man-made object in the night sky, Iridium flares are caused by a flat metallic plane on Iridium satellites briefly reflecting the sun.

"The Humanity Star builds on this concept by creating many reflective surfaces to capture and reflect more of the sun's light."

How long will it remain in orbit?

"The Humanity Star will orbit the Earth for approximately nine months before its orbit starts to decay and it is pulled back into the Earth's gravity," Rocket Lab says.

After this, it will burn up on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, leaving no trace in space or on Earth.