Will we soon see ads in the stars? – rts.ch

Researchers have developed a system of satellites to display symbols and letters in the sky. The beginning of spatial display advertising?

Advertising, ubiquitous, on our streets and on our phones, can also be visible in stars. Of russian researchers developed a system of satellites to inscribe symbols or letters in the sky. On the theoretical level, everything is ready.

Fifty small satellites placed in orbit reflect sunlight. They act like pixels to write a word or design a logo.

The message would then be visible from Earth for 3 months. The inscriptions can even change during the passage between two megalopolises.

many attempts

Space advertising is not on its first try. In the late 1990s, Pizza Hut placed its logo on a russian rocketthen delivered one Pizza in space.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Usachov eats a pizza delivered by Pizza Hut in 2001. The American company paid $1 million to cut the pub. [Keystone]

In 1997, Israeli dairy brand Tnuva recorded the first advertisement in space. It shows cosmonaut Vasily Tsibliyev drinking milk aboard the Russian space station Mir.

Closer to us, in 2018, You are here took advantage of a test flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to send a car into space. Advertising images that made the rounds of social networks.

But the idea that made headlines dates back to the early 1990s. The American company Space Marketing wanted to launch a billboard in space that could be seen with the naked eye from Earth. For us, it would have been half the size of the moon.

The controversy grows. US Senator James Jeffords approves text allowing the Department of Transportation to bar access to a rocket launch permit if the goal is to place an advertisement in space. Finally, the project is unsuccessful, for lack of investors.

lower costs

Currently, the questions surrounding a possible space pub are numerous. Are we ready to accept advertising in heaven? What is the impact for astronomical observation and the environment? Technological costs are not too high?

It is at this point that the Russian researchers’ idea seems relevant. They estimate their system would cost $65 million. With 24 spaces available in 3 months, the price of advertising would then be cheaper than a broadcast during the Super Bowl.

Why talk about it today, when the project is only theoretical? If everything is not desirable, everything is now possible in terms of space. There have never been so many investors in the sector.

Space trade boom

Commercial activities in space are booming, analysts say. In 2020, they generated more than 350 billion francs. Morgan Stanley estimates that number will exceed 1 trillion by 2040.

Today, we are experiencing a true economic race for space. France announced last month an investment of 9 billion francs in the space sector, for the next 3 years.

Switzerland also invests in space research. The 2022 budget is 190.5 million for participation in the European Space Agency.

We must add 9.5 million for national activities. And another 15 million under the Horizon Europe program (research and innovation).

The greatest Swiss success in the space field must be credited to an EPFL start-up, Free space. It will carry out the first mission to capture space debris. It is a contract worth 100 million francs. Launch scheduled for 2026. Today, in Switzerland, around a hundred companies work in the space sector.

Pascal Wassmer

The European Space Agency signs a contract with Swiss start-up ClearSpace to clean up space [RTS]

The European Space Agency signs a contract with the Swiss start-up ClearSpace to clean the space / 19:30 / 1 min. / December 1, 2020

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