A Russian company wants to put giant billboards in low-earth orbit
Is that the constellation of KFC?By Rob Thubron 31 comments
WTF?! Ads are pretty much everywhere these days. From TVs to phones to posters, they're hard to avoid. But there's one untapped piece of real estate that might eventually be displaying massive billboards for everyone to see: space.
Russian startup StartRocket wants to fill the night sky with logos and brand names such as McDonald's, KFC, and Coke, which, as you can see in the video below, is as bad as it sounds.
The idea is to use an array of programmable CubeSat satellites that can be arranged to display ads in a low-Earth orbit of 250 - 310 miles. Each one has a collapsible sail that can reflect the sun's light, forming a single pixel of a display measuring 19 square miles. The company said the logos would only be visible for six minutes at a time, which is still unlikely to appease people.
There's obviously a lot of obstacles facing StartRocket's plans, including regulations regarding the satellites' potential to interfere with aviation safety, as well as any advertising rules. Testing and funding might also be issues that prevent the ads being displayed by the planned 2021 date, and you can expect a lot of objections from citizens.
Assuming the concept becomes a reality, which is doubtful, StartRocket hasn't revelaed how much companies would have to pay for their logos to appear in space.
The idea to use microsatellites to illuminate part of the night sky isn't totally new. A Japanese startup plans to use two of the devices to create artificial shooting stars on demand over the city of Hiroshima in early 2020.
Alexey Skorupsky, a member of the StartRocket team, said: "If you ask about advertising and entertainment in general --- haters gonna hate."
"We are developing a new medium. At the advent of television no one loved ads at all."