site specific / 2022
Who shall ascend to heaven?

Orbital Temple is the first artistic orbital satellite from the Global South. Its mission is to question the symbolic colonization of heaven as paradise; the origin of the rules that open or close its gateways; and the influence those beliefs have on the decisions we make every day.
Orbital Temple video introduction, 1 min.
The artwork has three co-dependent elements: a satellite especially designed to store billions of names; a public space sculpture on Earth that is capable of exchanging information with the satellite; and a website through which participants can send the name of someone that has passed away — to heaven.

As a multidisciplinary endeavor, Orbital Temple can be considered a site-specific installation in outer space, a public space sculpture and also an ArtSat project.

In 2022 the satellite was exhibited at the 13th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, at the IX International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Tashkent, and at the NTU Global Digital Art Prize exhibition in Singapore.

Orbital Temple in space.
3D rendering by RiseNY&Partners.
How does it work?

Through the website, anyone can submit the name of the person they wish to send to heaven, at no cost.

Once the satellite is in orbit and then the next alignment between it and the antenna occurs, the names will be transmitted.

The satellite will store it in its memory and it will respond with a message confirming that they are registered in the temple. Whoever submitted the name will receive an email with a message such as the following:

Today, September 28, 2022, at 11:56pm
the name Kalpana Chawla ascended to heaven and there it remains.
And why?
For two reasons.
One symbolic — another political.
Orbital Temple in space.
3D rendering by RiseNY&Partners.
How does the idea of heaven interfere with our perceptions about sex, abortion, euthanasia, State, family, mental health, and human rights?

What if technology made it possible for us to experiment with an inclusive imaginary of heaven?

Most cultures and religions that abide by some idea of heaven and hell set precise guidelines about who belongs to each afterlife destiny. These guidelines can often be strict and exclusionary.

The Orbital Temple mission questions those ideas. What if we could imagine an alternative paradise in which all sentient beings could have a place?

Participants of this project are given the chance — and the power — to use technology as a means to bring those that may not conventionally be set to rest in a "higher place" to inhabit a temple in Earth's orbit.
Orbital Temple installation at the Mercosul Biennial,
in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Photo by Clara Marques.
At the same time, Orbital Temple is also an artistic attempt to bridge a long established unequal access to space technology. Space has been notoriously restricted to industrialized countries, which not only control but profit from monopolizing its access. By holding valuable and privileged information from developing countries, industrialized nations gain political, economic and military advantages.

As the first orbital artistic satellite from the Global South, Orbital Temple hopes to further discussions on how this access gap relates to the perpetuation of poverty (1) in developing countries and to the global climate crisis, challenging oppressive space regimes established and reproduced by the developed world.
Orbital Temple in space.
3D rendering by RiseNY&Partners.
As a key element of our geopolitical dynamics, outer space has a fundamental role in shaping our 21st century everyday lives.
Satellites are used to help us navigate around the globe, be it in our cars, boats or planes, they provide us with essential information about forest fires and other natural phenomena, and they help nations develop more precise agricultural systems through high quality data on the weather.

Present at military, economic, political and social levels, space technology, however, can go mostly unnoticed.
"Understanding and questioning power structures that regulate space exploration, both literally and metaphorically, is crucial for those committed to constructing a more just and sustainable tomorrow. Orbital Temple seeks not only to participate in the symbolic discussion about our collective understanding of life, and life after death, but to expand the debate on how space technologies can be tools for boosting economies, improving people's quality of life and preserving the world that we do have. It is also a reminder that technology will alter not only how we live but also how we die."
- Edson Pavoni
Open source technology for future generations from the Global South

All technology developed for the Orbital Temple mission will be open source and available online, fostering the advancement of space exploration in the Global South. New missions and projects can use Orbital Temple as a foundation for their own artistic or scientific experiments.

A DIY Satellite workshop will accompany the mission. Directed at Global South teens, being offered in Portuguese, Spanish and English, it will be a hands-on opportunity to learn about satellite technology and put it into practice. Anyone above the age of 16 will be able to build their own satellite, learning about the history of art in space, fundamental concepts of electronics, mechanics and space science, including how to finance the projects and how to build an antenna to communicate with the satellite in orbit.
Want to be a part of this mission? Become our sponsor through a tax-deductible donation and bring it to life.
Sustainability and space debris

All carbon emissions will be neutralized, including the launch and fabrication of the satellite.

The satellite has a reentry plan of 10 years, leaving no debris in outer space.
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Details of the Orbital Temple satellite.
Photo by Clara Marques.
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Details of the Orbital Temple satellite.
3D rendering by RiseNY&Partners.

13th Mercosul Biennial
Porto Alegre, Brazil

IX International Biennale of Contemporary Art
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

NTU Global Digital Art Prize
Singapore, Singapore

Lumen Prize - Longlist Futures Award
NTU Global Digital Art Prize - Finalist

CubeDesign Prize, promoted by INPE - Winner ArtSat Category
Technical information

Dimensions: 50x58x64 mm
1P PocketQube
Weight: 245 gr
Materials: aluminum, gold, fiberglass, and electronic components.
Orbit: Altitude 525 ± 25 km; inclination: SSO 97.6 ± 0.1°

Dimensions: 6 m (diameter) e 1.2m (height)
Weight: 46 kg
Materials: aluminum, epoxy mirrored board, golden aluminum dome suspended through a scaffolding structure.

Radio Specs NASA-Catalog:
TBD Downlink: 437 MHzCall:

Edson Pavoni, artist

Aerospace & Systems Engineering
Pedro Kaled, João Pedro Polito, Victor Baptista & João Victor Alves

Electronic Engineering
André Biagioni, João Pedro Polito & VK

Jonathan Querubina

Design and Architecture
Guilherme Bullejos

3D Printing
Solid Concepts, under the leadership of Eduardo Dias

3D Rendering
Guilherme Bullejos & RiseNy&Partners

Roberta Savian Rosa & Clara Marques

Exhibition Production, Photography & Content Creation
Clara Marques

Exhibition's Silk Screening
Daphne Alves

Educational Project

Pearmill Special Thanks
Anne Valls, Marcello Dantas & Matias Campos Abad