Startup Wants to Put Ads in Low-Earth Orbit

A startup wants to put up billboards in low earth orbit, to beam advertising back down onto Earth. The startup plans to use a swarm of cubesats to create programmable displays in the night sky.

Orbiting at an altitude of 250-300 miles, according to the startup’s website, the satellites will have collapsible sails that can reflect sunlight to make a single pixel.

The displays would be dependent on reflecting the Sun, so it could only be used at dawn and dusk.

The “billboard” would have an area of 50 square kilometres (19 square miles). This Orbital Display, as it is being called, can then be programmed to display advertisements around the globe, for 6-minute intervals, around 3 or 4 times a day – theoretically, at least.

The altitude chosen for the cubesats orbit will cause decay so the satellites will fall back into the atmosphere and burn up in about a year.

While the system has yet to be tested or approved. The team claims to have overcome the technical issues related with flying satellites in formation, and the drag caused by their sails.



Image adapted from: “Panta rhei as Seen by Hubble” by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is licensed under CC BY 2.0 and “Consume!” by Lisa Brewster is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0