After graduating from the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), Viatcheslav Kantor headed a leading USSR laboratory engaged in developing spacecraft. Between 1976 and 1986, a reflector satellite was designed using his research, and in 1993 it was launched into Earth orbit to illuminate the planet's surface with reflected sunlight.
Twenty meters in diameter, the reflector completed a number of Earth orbit revolutions and its reflected beam of sunlight traveled across the Earth’s surface through Lyon, Bern, Munich, Prague, Lodz, Brest and Gomel. The experiment illustrated the technical efficiency of the unit and its suitability for a number of practical uses.
The launch and further research resulted in a complex experimental project to deploy two film-sheet reflector satellites 25 and 60 m in diameter into Earth orbit. Through the late 1990s, improvements were made to the Znamya, or banner, reflector satellite and several modifications were launched.
The reflector satellite project attracted interest worldwide, both in the academic community and the general public. The reflected light spot was observed by scientists and amateurs in many countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Germany, Belgium, Czech Republic, Canada and the U.S. Russian and foreign experts confirmed that the satellite was promising from academic and economic standpoints.