Russians to Launch a Space Advertising Race by 2021

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(— April 20, 2019) — A joke from the mid 60’s says: a guy stormed to the oval office and addressed the President with panic in his voice: “Mr. President, the Russians just painted the moon red!” “No worries”, the President said, “Go up there and write Coca-Cola on it.”

Adds in space visible from Earth have been an idea that dwelled in the minds of advertising agencies for a long time. Russian startup StartRocket announced its plans to install the first space advertising billboard.

The Russian company started with preparations for installing a geo-stationary giant display at an altitude of more than 300 miles, Russia Today reports. StarRocket has plans to launch 200 small satellites called cubesats which will form a plate constellation and beam a commercial image visible from the Earth’s surface.

Project leader Vladilen Sitnikov revealed to RT the technology behind this endeavor. “Satellite reflectors use sunlight directing it towards the Earth so the cubesats satellite pixels will be turned on and off when we need while the entire display moves into the orbit showing messages or images,” Sitnikov explained.

Using solar power as the cubesats’ primary energy source, the lightweight space objects will have propulsion engines that allow a central command to put them into motion in order to rearrange them or to remove them from orbit by letting them burn out in the atmosphere.

The project’s prototype has already been made by rocket scientists in Moscow’s Skoltech university. Full implementation is expected in 2021.

Conquering the reaches of Space with regards of using it for advertising is easy to imagine as some futuristic visualization of a Sci-Fi movie, however, there are more complex questions that need to be dealt with other than just focusing on the technology that is needed to make it possible.

The company’s intention to commercialize an orbit is slammed by online social network communities as a waste of time and money. It also raises a moral issue. “Just how preposterous can a human be?” reads one comment on a company’s video launched on a Vimeo.

“Launching art projects like this with no commercial, scientific, or national security value seems unwise,” University of Michigan astronomy professor and space debris expert Patrick Seitzer said