Billboards in Space: This Russian Startup Wants Ads to Outshine Stars in the Night Sky

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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.

If a Russian startup has its way, advertising is headed for new heights: both literally and figuratively.

“The stars in the night sky will very soon be outshone by the glare of billboards – and in the not-too-distant future. That’s at least what Russian startup StartRocket has in mind as the company has announced plans to install a giant display at an altitude of nearly 500 kilometers,” reports Russia Today (RT).

"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," RT quotes project leader Vladilen Sitnikov as saying. However, StartRocket’s ambitious plans have already drawn criticism from social media users and scientists alike.

“Just how preposterous can a human be?” one user asked, while another wished the company “burn in hell.”

Others termed the plan as the climax of "visual pollution, commercial greed” and “an awful idea,” urging the company to use “your money for something more worthwhile than ruining our skies with advertising. What an awful idea this is.”

Scientists were not too impressed with the idea either. “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, indicating that “space is getting increasingly crowded.”

Pepsi has already shelved plans to advertise its products on the StarRocket’s space billboard.

"We can confirm StartRocket performed an exploratory test for stratosphere advertisements using the Adrenaline GameChangers logo," a spokesperson for PepsiCo told SpaceNews. "This was a one-time event; we have no further plans to test or commercially use this technology at this time."