Dystopian future? Billboards in SPACE could send advertisements to Earth – but it would require a “constellation” of 50 small satellites and cost $65 million
- One study found that it would take a constellation of 50 small satellites and cost $65 million to send advertising to Earth from space
- The satellites would have large reflectors that could bounce the sunlight down to earth and rearrange itself into different shapes to form logos or graphics
- ‘Developing such missions has become an interesting point for some space startups as the approach offers global coverage of the Earth,’ the study reads
The average person already sees up to 10,000 ads a day — but one place Madison Avenue has yet to conquer: space.
A study by Russian researchers is examining the technological and financial investments required to beam advertising across the globe for a few months using a constellation of up to 50 small satellites orbiting the planet.
The researchers calculate that it would cost about $65 million and require just over four dozen satellites, about the size of a full paper grocery bag, to get into what they call sun-synchronous orbit — meaning they’re always moving in direct sunlight would go around the world.
Although the average person sees up to 10,000 ads a day, Madison Avenue has yet to conquer space
A study by Russian researchers is examining the technological and financial investments required to beam advertising across the globe for a few months using a constellation of up to 50 small satellites orbiting the planet. ABOVE: A study image shows a representation of what an advertisement from space might look like
In orbit, they would deploy large reflectors that could direct sunlight toward Earth. The satellites could rearrange themselves in different shapes to form logos or simple graphics.
These shapes could evolve over their visible time or even switch advertisers between cities.
‘A long-term promotional mission in space would rely on a complex satellite system orbiting the Earth and showing pixel images to observers on the ground,’ says the study, published in the journal Aerospace.
“In this case, an advertisement appears as a constellation of bright artificial stars that are formed into an image that can be observed in the clear night sky for several minutes.
The researchers calculate that it would cost about $65 million and require just over four dozen satellites, about the size of a full paper grocery bag, to get into what they call sun-synchronous orbit. ABOVE: Maps from the study show how space advertising reach could work
Elon Musk’s SpaceX was reportedly in talks with a company last year to use satellites to project advertising from Earth into space
“The development of such missions has become an interesting point for some space startups, as the approach provides global coverage of the Earth and thus allows an advertisement to be shown multiple times in high-demand regions.”
Space advertising, which has been the subject of debate and could conjure up visions of a dystopian future in the public eye, has mostly been examined from the perspective of one-off events.
For example, researchers mention logos on a rocket flying into space or branded food shipments to the International Space Station.
The study also reveals that the net revenue from the space billboards could total $111 million. Assuming two dozen ads are displayed, that works out to $4.6 million per ad. According to ESPN, some advertisers were paying $7 million per spot for Super Bowl ads that year.
There have been other attempts at longer-term space-based advertising.
To celebrate the Eiffel Tower’s centenary in 1989, the plan was to launch a series of hundred solar reflectors into low earth orbit (LEO) to form a ring of light that would have been visible from around the world.
The study says that most of the cost involved manufacturing the satellites ($48.7 million), testing, support and engineering ($11.5 million), and the launch itself ($4.8 million). ) would cover.
Whether or not space advertising becomes a reality may depend on the whims of companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which has deployed thousands of satellites to bring internet connectivity to remote areas — including a maritime bid for superyachts, oil rigs and large ships — including a partnership with Royal Caribbean Cruises.
It was reported last year that Canadian tech startup Geometric Energy Corporation is collaborating with SpaceX to develop a satellite with a large pixelated screen that can beam advertising into space from the ground (rather than allowing space advertising to be visible from Earth) .