Advertising in Space? Why Not, Says Russian Startup


Just when you thought that you had enough of those pesky ads present just about everywhere and jumping out of nowhere, someone gets an idea to put ads in another place. This time the place we are talking about is the Earth’s orbit.

What’s this all about?

A Russian startup called StartRocket has come up with Orbital Display, a term they use for their projects involving billboards in space. To clarify, the company intends to display huge ads in the night sky using an array of 200-300 CubeSats.

CubeSats are tiny satellites developed by Jordi Puig-Suari, an aerospace engineering professor and Bob Twiggs, a professor at Stanford University. These tissue box-sized satellites have intensified interest in space and revolutionized satellite communication.

Around 2,000 of these little satellites went into the Earth’s orbit in August 2018. Already a bunch of tech startups is getting into the tiny satellite race. Established aeronautics companies like SpaceX and Boeing are making regular use of the nanosats.

StartRocket Orbital Display Space Ads Concept Crowd Vivid

StartRocket’s CubeSats will unfurl their Mylar solar sails around 10 meters (around 30 feet) in diameter. They will catch and reflect sunlight, creating a pixelated matrix, reports.

Orbiting at an altitude between 400 and 500 kilometers (roughly 250-310 miles), the ads will deliver three to four messages or images per day. They will have a viewable area of 50 square kilometers.

The humankind will see the ads for only six minutes at a time, in evening and morning twilight. In other words, the observer will have to be in darkness.

The guys and gals of StartRocket presented this vision in a concept video showing McDonald’s and KFC logos hovering in the sky. Vlad Sitnikov, the project leader, told Futurism that the utilization of the night sky was just the next logical step in advertising.

When will we get to see Orbital Display?

As a matter of fact, the company plans to test-deploy their project by 2020. After that, the ads should start running by 2021. According to the company, the cost per thousand views (CPM) is close to the price of the largest media channel – television ($9-15). Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, a private university in Moscow, will be helping them in reaching their goals.

Meanwhile, the company is yet to address astronomers’ concerns about light pollution.

Vimeo: The Orbital Display in Action (Vlad Sitnikov)

Photo credit: All media used is owned by StartRocket.
Source: StartRocket website / Troy Farah (Astronomy) / Jon Christian (Futurism)

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Sead Fadilpasic
Sead Fadilpasic
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.
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