You Look Up to See Stars, But You See an Ad?


Ads in space

Sofia Borges, Journalist

Imagine looking up into the sky to go stargazing, and you see a giant logo for your favorite snack company. It might seem hard to believe, but the Russian company StartRocket has been building satellites that can project advertisements in space.  

According to Upfront magazine, “Each ad would be roughly the size of a half-moon and would be visible for six minutes at a time, mainly above densely populated cities.  

The way this works is that lots of small satellites line up in the shape of the ad, they then reflect light from the sun, which projects the ads to earth. These satellites are called CubeSats. The satellites will have a brightness of about –8 magnitude. According to, a full moon has about –13 magnitude and the sun has about –27 magnitude. It can only be visible at night and the ads won’t being projected until 2021.   

While some people support this idea, others don’t. Astronomers think that adding the satellites will add some space pollution and make it harder to research. According to NBCNews, “ Putting more satellites up there is going to cause more opportunities for collisions, and we don’t want that happening,’ said John Crassidis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University at Buffalo. ‘My biggest issue is that these objects are going to become space junk.’ “ 

StartRocket’s CEO Vladilen Sitnikov calls himself “an advertising guy with a ‘crazy idea’” According to  

Whatever your opinion is about space ads, you can expect to see them at night in 2021. 





Magazine, Upfront. “Billboards in Space?” The New York Times Upfront, 2 Sept. 2019,

Chow, Denise. “This Russian Startup Wants to Put Huge Ads in Space. Not Everyone Is on Board with the Idea.”, NBCUniversal News Group, 19 Jan. 2019, 

Farah, Troy. “This Russian Startup Wants to Put Billboards in Space. Astronomers Ar.”, 14 Jan. 2019,