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A team of Belgium researchers is on tap next year to toss into space what they advertise as the first space billboard.

“CubeSats can clearly play a very important role in the future of space research and with SpaceBillboard, we want to give CubeSats and space research an extra boost,” the group says on their website.

The students are from KU Leuven University in Belgium.

Funding for future projects

“We want to start up new and groundbreaking research at KU Leuven, such as formation flying with CubeSats, autonomous docking (two satellites connecting in space), high accuracy pointing platforms to make even more accurate measurements, etc,” the team reports.

Credit: SpaceBillboard.com

Credit: SpaceBillboard.com

SpaceBillboard is now set up to sell advertisement space on a billboard – “the first advertisement platform ever to pass the boundary of space,” they claim, with the revenues of the project used to sponsor space research at the University of Leuven.It should be noted, however, that U.S. entrepreneur, Robert Bigelow, also had an advertising campaign making use of the Bigelow Aerospace Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 modules that flew in 2006 and 2007. Other advertising ideas have also made their way into space in the past.

Squares available for purchase

To be lofted from Brazil’s Alcantara rocket base, the CubeSat billboard will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 310 miles (500 kilometers) and some 80 miles (130 kilometers above the International Space Station.

SpaceBillboard is the initiative of three PhD researchers in engineering at the University of Leuven (Belgium). Credit: SpaceBillboard.com

SpaceBillboard is the initiative of
three PhD researchers in engineering
at the University of Leuven (Belgium).
Credit: SpaceBillboard.com

To get an advertisement on SpaceBillboard, the advertiser can select preferred squares on the billboard or go to a special “Buy squares” page. The billboard itself measures approximately 8×8 centimeters, consisting of 400 squares that are available for purchase.

A special Internet site allows you to upload an image you want to put on the billboard as well as a link to which visitors will be guided if they click your advertisement. SpaceBillboard says they have already attracted several sponsors, including Microsoft.

Personal messages

“Next to brands putting their logo on the billboard, we also want to allow everyone to send their personal message to space and get it around the world,” the site explains.

Individuals can choose a message of a maximum of 140 characters. “And because we want to honor the fact that you supported space research, we also send you a personal certificate afterwards.”

For a personal message, the charge is one Euro per character, or roughly a dollar in U.S. currency. For example, the message “happy birthday Hannah!” counts 22 characters and would cost about $25.00.

Will the billboard be seen from Earth?

No, the CubeSat is moving too fast and at too high of an altitude. “Our goal with the billboard is to give our sponsors and our project visibility here on Earth. By the way, obtrusive space advertising is illegal and a visible billboard in space would just litter our beautiful night sky,” the website adds.

Want more information on the effort?

Go to:

http://spacebillboard.com/

For a video describing the project, go to:

http://vimeo.com/80134768#at=9

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