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Star Bright, Star Light First Space Ad I See Tonight

Audio transcript available here.

One of the craziest potential futures of marketing I have come across in my research was the concept of ‘Space Ads’, AKA obtrusive space advertising.

To me, the whole idea seems like it’s something straight out of a cyberpunk dystopia.

Image: A Russian startup, StartRocket, plans massive billboards to beam advertisements to Earth.
Image Credit: StartRocket, 2019.

The technology is described as “swarms of tiny, light-reflecting “cubesats” (tiny satellites) that would come together to form luminous words or logos.”

StartRocket (a Russian start-up) is trying to make it happen for real.

Whilst the technology is possible, I see this future being a very low possibility, and definitely an unfavourable one at that.

On the cone of plausibility I see this sitting within the plausible to wild card area.

Amongst concerns over light pollution, aviation safety, satellite overcrowding and space junk- you would hope that legislation to advertise in the night sky is never approved.

Not only that but our lives are already so saturated with media and messages. I think we see enough of the McDonald’s ‘M’ (for example) already to not have to see it when we look up at the milky way.

However, according to this NBC Mach article, Vlad Sitnikov; the CEO of StartRocket, is undeterred by any negative reactions.

If you ask about critics of advertising and entertainment in space in general- haters gonna hate. We are developing a new medium, In the beginning of television no one loved [ads] at all.

Vlad Sitnikov

This concept of obtrusive space advertising makes you wonder if the commercialization of space is inevitable?

In a capitalist society too often fuelled by greed I am slightly pessimistic. However, I hope the night sky is one thing in the future we can continue to appreciate for its natural beauty.

Image Credit: Ken Cheung on

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