SpaceX and a Canadian Startup Will Turn Space Into a Billboard

Just as paid human spaceflights are about to begin, advertising is making a mark in space too. A Canadian startup called Geometric Energy Corporation (GEC) has tied up with Elon Musk's SpaceX, taking advertising to space on a small satellite aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, Business Insider reported. However, the collaboration won't feature a classic advertising billboard that we are used to see around, the ads will run on a pixelated display screen on a satellite called a CubeSat. 

Calgary-based GEC is an intellectual property, manufacturing, and logistics company, all rolled into one. Through its subsidiaries, Geometric Space, GeometricLabs, Geometric Medical, and Geometric Gaming, the company is inventing and manufacturing products and services for its customers in the private as well as the public sectors. As the company claims, during the pandemic, it supplied "ethically sourced" nitrile gloves to institutions in Canada and the U.S. while also developing a solid-state Sodium-Ion battery product. 

Another area of service for the company is CubeSat integration. CubeSats are smaller satellites manufactured with mass-produced components for commercial purposes. Weighing not more than 660 pounds (300 kg), CubeSats can be assembled on demand and launched from alternate platforms. For its advertising project, GEC plans to use its expertise in CubeSat integration and plans to put a pixelated display screen on one side that will be used for advertising purposes. 

CubeSat will be put in orbit by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket that will travel to the  Moon in the first quarter of 2022. To put up an advert on its screen, those who are interested need to buy tokens that can be used to design a pixel. The company revealed to Business Insider that it will offer five tokens for purchase; Beta for the X coordinate, Rhoe for the Y coordinate, Gamma for the brightness, Kappa for the color, and XI for time. Using the tokens, users will be able to decide what their advertising pixel will look like, where it will be located on the screen and how long the advertisement will last. Since pixels are too small to be seen from Earth or from space, a selfie stick on the CubeSat will capture the image and live-stream it on YouTube or Twitch. 

When it comes to buying the tokens, it can only be done in cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum and possibly Dogecoin in the future, as co-founder Samuel Reid told Business Insider. Explaining his stance, Reid said that his company's efforts are aimed at "democratizing access to space and allowing decentralized participation." However, the company's fascination with Dogecoin is not completely understood.

Earlier in May this year, GEC's Subsidiary, Geometric Space Corporation (GSC) announced its collaboration with SpaceX, called DOGE-1. The mission involves putting into orbit around the Moon an 88-pound (40 kg) CubeSat that will capture spatial intelligence using onboard cameras and sensors. Scheduled for launch in the first quarter of 2022, the mission is completely paid for in Dogecoin, setting the stage for using cryptocurrencies to finance space missions in the future. We have reached out to the company to understand their interest in Dogecoin and will update the story when the comment is received.

The DOGE-1 and the advertising CubeSat will be onboard a RideShare Falcon 9 Rocket that SpaceX operates to provide low-cost launch missions for small satellites.

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