Space invaders: Russian startup's plan for celestial billboards sparks debate about who owns the sky

Mail Online | 1/31/2019 | Reuters
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Some day soon, stargazers searching for answers in the night sky might see the logo of a soft drink company blazing past the Milky Way, or a promotional message from a fast food restaurant.

That at least that is the hope of StartRocket, a Russian start-up aiming to put billboards in space.

Firm - Hundreds - Satellites - Display - Visible

The firm plans to turn hundreds of tiny satellites into a massive display visible from earth - something its CEO, Vlad Sitnikov, said would make him the first man to draw in space since the ancient Greeks grouped stars into constellations.

'New ages demand new gods,' the advertising expert told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that the world is no longer ruled by Greek deities but by brands and events.

Space - Hotels - Mining - Project - Series

From space hotels to asteroid mining, the ambitious project is the latest in a series of ventures, often backed by capital and technology from Silicon Valley, looking at outer space as a new business frontier.

But since it was announced in January, the initiative has angered astronomers and raised questions about the need to better regulate who owns the skies - and what is in them.

'It - Starting - Point - Nature - Regulation

'It might be a good starting point to re-examine the whole nature of regulation of space activity,' said Christopher Newman, a professor of space law at Northumbria University in Britain.

Sitnikov said he came up with the space billboard idea last year after U.S.-New Zealand rocket propulsion company Rocket Lab launched a shiny disco ball called Humanity Star into orbit, where it remained visible to the human eye for months.

'It - Time - Somebody - Entertainment - Space

'It was the first time somebody made entertainment in space ... and advertising is part of entertainment,' he said via Skype from Moscow.

To work out technical details he teamed up with experts from Skoltech, a Moscow private university, he said.

Team - Satellites

The team aims to put 200 tiny satellites, known as...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Mail Online
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