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Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements

Orbital Display is a Russian startup that wants to bring the wonderful world of branded advertising to your night sky.

Imagine this: you’ve just fled from the city to your nearest national park to gaze deeply into the infinite abyss of space and contemplate how your own existence fits into the curtain of the universe. Then, out of the corner of your eye, you see bright white letters spelling “KFC” spring across the horizon in a long arch. A few minutes later, it’s gone.

That’s the idea behind Orbital Display, a Russian startup’s effort to bring billboard advertisements to low-Earth orbit using a grid of tissue box-sized satellites called CubeSats. Orbiting approximately 280 miles above ground, these tiny satellites will unfurl Mylar sails some 30 feet in diameter to catch and reflect sunlight, creating a pixelated matrix. The company, StartRocket, has proposed using this tech to display a knockoff of the Coca-Cola logo and other brand emblems, as well as allow governments to flash urgent notifications during emergencies.

Vladilen Sitnikov, StartRocket’s CEO, describes himself as an advertising guy with a “crazy idea.” He approached SkolTech, a private university in Moscow, to figure out the technical details, contracting a team of engineers to develop a prototype. Their first test launch could happen this summer, with a full execution in 2021. That is, if the company can find the money.

(Via Astronomy.)

Golden Age great Jack Williamson had this idea nailed down solid in 1939, having published his One Against The Legion in Astounding. Behold the New Moon Casino Satellite with its advertising visible from space - or the Earth.

But the rising sign, as it had been designed to do, held his eyes. A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk. They spun giddily, came and went, changed suddenly to a lurid yellow. Then garish blue-and-orange letters flashed a legend:

Tired, Mister? Bored, Sister? Then come with me—The disk became a red-framed animated picture of a slender girl in white, tripping up the gangway of a New Moon liner. She turned, and the gay invitation of her smile changed into burning words: Out in the New Moon, just ask for what you want...
(Read more about the Orbiting Casino Advertising Sign)

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