This company wants to put billboards in space.
The Russian startup StartRocket is making an effort to put billboard ads into low-Earth orbit, using a grid of tissue box-sized satellites called CubeSats. The CubeSats are able to unfurl Mylar sails to catch and reflect sunlight, creating a pixelated matrix to spell out words.
“It’s human nature to advertise everything.” StarRocket CEO Vladilen Sitnikov stated to astronomy.com. “Brands [are] a beautiful part of humankind.”
The display would be viewable in evening and morning twilight, when the cubes catch sunlight while the observer is in darkness.
However, astronomers and dark-sky advocates think launching more satellites into space isn’t a great idea.
“Launching art projects like this with no commercial, scientific, or national security value seems unwise,” The University of Michigan’s Patrick Seitzer explained. “There are over 20,000 objects with orbits in the official public catalog maintained by the U.S. Air Force. Less than 10 percent are active satellites — the rest are dead satellites, old rocket bodies, and parts of spacecraft.”
Some astronomers also believe that the brightness of the ads could make it difficult to do astronomical research from the ground. But Sitnikov disputes this claim, saying the displays luminosity will only last six minutes.