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9

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, It's... An Orbiting Space Billboard

No space is safe anymore, not even outer space. Apart from the light pollution that many urban cities around the world are emitting, a Russian startup called StartRocket had said that they want to launch space billboards. As if we don't have enough ads invading our everyday lives, now this would even prevent us from seeing the stars at night.

(Image credit: StartRocket via Futurism)


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Last I heard, which seems to be similar to what is in an older article linked in the Futurism article, they are targeting low Earth orbit and will use a fleet of cubesats. This will allow a large display of dots, and could possibly be quite cheap to launch if they find another launch to piggy-back on with enough room. If using reflected sunlight, they don't need much power or weight, just a flat shiny surface. The first gen Irridium satellites were noted for being very bright when reflecting sunlight off a panel that is only a couple square meters.

I don't think it would be difficult to make a cubesat (or smaller) with a deployed mylar or kapton reflector, and most of the mass being used for fuel and engine for station keeping. It would probably be a question of just finding an appropriate launch to get enough spare room, and to find someone to pay for an ad that is only visible for a few minutes each night. Cubesats can cost as low as $10k each to launch.
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The ISS is 73mx109m, orbits in low Earth orbit range (340km) and appears as a little dot to the naked eye. So how big would something need to be to be readable to the naked eye in LEO? If you wanted park the ad in a geostationary orbit it would need to be out at 35,786km which I am thinking means you would need something REALLY BIG.
I hate the idea but something tells me these guys haven't thought this one through enough.
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