Your Sign Here: Advertising Space ... in Space
by Jimm Erickson (ID # 0270469)
Legal Issues of the 21st Century
May 19, 2004

"This is one small step for mankind, but a giant leap for our Pizza Hut turnaround."
-- Pizza Hut press release regarding the July 2000 launch of a Russian rocket bearing a thirty-foot Pizza Hut logo[1]

According to a March 10, 2004, Interfax news agency report[2] (with elaboration by an Associated Press[3] report), spacecraft designer Alexander Lavrynov claims to have secured a Russian patent for a space-based advertising device. The device would consist of a number of satellites connected by cables; both the cables and the satellites
would be outfitted with sunlight reflectors -- in effect, giant mirrors -- forming an array similar to the light bulbs in a stadium sign.
Lavrynov envisions the space-ads "fly[ing] around the earth several times a day,"[4] visible in the night sky and "literally [creating] intercontinental coverage." Although no further supporting details have emerged in the media, nor any indication of the number of satellites necessary or the minimum distance between them, Lavrynov claims that his device could "write geometric symbols, labels and even texts" -- in short, "huge writings in the sky" that could be seen by untold millions of potential consumers "no worse [sic] than they see the stars."[5]
This paper will examine some of the legal issues pertaining to the use of Lavrynov's invention and others similar to it. These issues are by no means speculative; according to "futurist" Dr. David Passig, faculty member and head of the Graduate Program of Educational Technology at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, we can expect to see -- literally -- advertisements in space by the year 2015.[6] Already, such companies as Georgia's Space Marketing, Inc., New York's Global Impact Communications, Virginia's LunaCorp, Moscow's Energia-Astro Space Services, and Moscow's Space Marketing Centre are heavily invested in the space-ad business, while NASA itself has occasionally become involved.[7]

However, with one notable exception discussed below, other space-advertising schemes have been far less ambitious than Lavrynov's (although, reportedly, "Pepsico has experimented with technology that would project ads onto the moon"[8] -- a prospect beyond the scope of this paper). For example, a forty-pound decal advertising the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Last Action Hero" appeared on the sides of a Conestoga rocket carrying a Commercial Experiment Transporter, NASA's unsuccessful device for longer-term microgravity experiments; Columbia Pictures offered $500,000 for the privilege.[9] And according to Omni magazine, "[i]n an effort to raise foreign currency, . . . the Russians . . . sold space on their Soyuz rockets to hawk merchandise ranging from Sony electronics to Unicharm feminine hygiene products."[10] More notably, Pizza Hut placed a thirty-foot logo on a Russian Zvezda Proton rocket launched into space in July 2000; the fast-food chain reportedly paid as much as $1.2 million for the placement as part of a $500 million "re-imaging campaign." Meanwhile, the chain provided pizza (whose flavor was specially formulated, supposedly, to counteract certain culinary effects of weightlessness) to the International Space Station (ISS) crew;[11] Cosmonaut Yuri Usachev was taped eating the pizza for a "video news release." Radio Shack, Popular Mechanics magazine, and the LEGO Company commissioned similar ISS promotional tapes.[12]
A more speculative example involves the "Icebreaker," a privately-funded lunar rover, which is to be adorned with a Radio Shack logo in exchange for partial funding of the water-seeking and data-collecting device.[13] Similarly, the developers of the European Space Agency's failed Beagle 2 Mars Lander attempted (unsuccessfully) to secure corporate sponsorship, including one "title sponsor" which would "get its name associated with the project -- 'the XYZ Beagle 2 Mission to Mars.'"[14] There were also plans to sell adver-tising "at strategic points on the lander, its parachutes and airbags"; in turn, the logos were to "feature on com-puter simulations that w[ould] appear on television."[15] However, according to the project's director:
Nobody we ever spoke to about sponsorship could read how the public would respond if a space mission went wrong . . . [Later,] we calculated . . . the sponsor-ship value[:] the advertising revenue from the media coverage we got was worth about a quarter of a billion pounds -- if you were doing an assessment of how many times your name would go before the public eye. In other words, there's a message for our sponsorship that, as a brand, Beagle 2 was worth a quarter of a billion pounds. . . .[16]

To create a television ad aired during the 1997 MTV Music Awards, Pepsico reportedly paid $5 million to arrange filming on the Russian Mir space station. The cosmonauts brought along a four-inch space-grade nylon object that was expandable into a fully-orbital spacecraft to be tethered outside Mir. Once expanded, the object became a replica of a Pepsi can -- filmed floating outside the Mir during a space walk.[17] Coke, (an online drugstore), Fisher Space Pens, and the milk industry have also availed themselves of space advertising opportunities.[18]

But the most notorious space-ad scheme was the one proposed by Georgia's Space Marketing Concepts, Inc., in 1993. The company announced plans -- scheduled for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta -- to place in orbit[19] mile-long, half-mile-wide swaths of reflective Mylar plastic, supported by "thin wall plastic tubes."[20] These "space billboards" would "appear to be the size and brightness of the full Moon."[21] The billboards would be "engineered to be more visible at sunrise and sunset" and could be "posi-tioned to appear to target audiences at peak times of the day and evening."[22] In the words of the journal Advertising Age, the plan was "the most ambitious marketing endeavor ever contemplated."[23]
Within a month of Space Marketing's announcement, Save Our Skies, a "coalition of consumer activists, environmentalists and astronomers," began campaigning against the scheme. The group "appealed to United Nations officials to pass a resolution condemning the venture and held news conferences and demonstrations at several sites around the country in protest."[24]
Soon, both the United States Senate and House of Representatives responded. On June 23, 1993, Senator Jim Jeffords introduced the Space Advertising Prohibition Act of 1993;[25] a week later, Representative Edward Markey introduced a similar bill in the House.[26] Both bills sought to prohibit licensing the launch of "any payload containing space advertising"; multi-million-dollar penalties would be imposed for violators who somehow circumvented the prohibition.[27] The Senate bill sought to prevent the importation of products from "foreign competitors [who] decide to advertise in space,"[28] a clause later simplified in the final proposed bill as a prohibition on "the sale of products produced by companies advertising in space."[29] Finally, both bills requested that the President seek an international agreement against space-based advertising.[30]
However, there were significant problems with the breadth of the 1993 bill.[31] For example, it would have prohibited even small advertisements invisible at a distance: "'space advertising' means advertising in outer space, including [i.e. not limited to] the placement of images or objects in outer space that are visible from Earth, for purposes of marketing or otherwise promoting the sale or use of goods or services."[32] Worse, the bill would have prevented the sale of, say, Pepsi Cola after 1997 (not to mention all of Pepsico's other products), because Pepsico "advertised in space" when it filmed its ad on Mir.
Eventually a more limited version of the bill was passed in 2000[33] -- one which notably omits any reference to a ban on the sales of products, imported or otherwise. Codified in the "Commercial Space Transportation" subtitle of the "Transportation" title of the United States Code, the bill essentially amounts to a Congressionally imposed (that is, not administrative or discretionary) licensing restriction on space launches and related activities within the United States or conducted elsewhere by United States citizens.[34]
Specifically, licenses may not be granted for the "launch of a payload containing any material to be used for the purposes of obtrusive space advertising,"[35] nor can any license holder launch such a payload.[36] "Obtrusive space advertising" is defined as "advertising in outer space that is capable of being recognized by a human being on the surface of the Earth without the aid of a telescope or other technological device."[37] Meanwhile, to limit the restrictions, the law explicitly does not apply to "nonobtrusive commercial space advertising, including advertising on -- (1) commercial space transportation vehicles; (2) space infrastructure payloads; (3) space launch facilities; and (4) launch support facilities."[38]

Thus, it would appear that in regard to marketing his device to citizens of the United States, Alexander Lavrynov is out of luck. Although the word "advertising" is not defined in the bill, the word's scope may be construed broadly. Other sections of the United States Code (too numerous to list) use "advertising" in its usual sense, involving commercial products and services; and Title 2 Section 431 repeatedly refers to "political advertising."[39] Even statements unrelated to profit or politics may be considered "advertising": Title 23 Section 131 -- titled "Control of Outdoor Advertising" but better known as The Federal Highway Beautification Act of 1965 -- makes reference to "signs, displays, and devices advertising the distribution by nonprofit organizations of free coffee to individuals traveling" on interstate roads.[40] Given such a broad scope, even the phrase "Sun Myung Moon is the Messiah" could be considered "advertising" in the context of space billboards -- as surely it would be if placed on a billboard beside an interstate highway.
For activities requiring United States licensing, Lavrynov's only recourse (short of persuading Congress to change the law) is to obtain a judgment that the law is unconstitutional:[41] specifically, that it violates the right to free speech.[42] His line of argument would depend on whether the launch payload was geared toward "commercial" or "non-commercial" speech.

In regard to commercial speech -- presumably the overwhelming source of any profits space-advertising might reap -- the Constitutional case is weak. The leading case on the issue is Central Hudson Gas v. Public Service Commission,[43] in which the Supreme Court set out a four-part test for the constitutionality of regulating commercial speech (the fourth component, in turn, was later modified in Board of Trustees of the State University of New York v. Fox[44] and Greater New Orleans Broadcasting Association v. United States,[45] which provide the version given here): (1) whether the speech concerns lawful activity and is not misleading; (2) whether the asserted governmental interest in regulating the speech is substantial; (3) whether the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted; and (4) whether there is a reasonable "fit" between the legislature's ends and the means used to accomplish them.
In regard to the second element, Title 49 Chapter 701 ("Commercial Space Launch Activities") makes repeated references to protecting (or conversely, not jeopardizing) "the public health and safety, safety of property, and national security and foreign policy interests of the United States."[46] This boilerplate clause provides a reference point for the variety of "substantial interests" Congress might assert.
First, a weaker argument. Conceivably, restrictions on obtrusive space advertising protect national security and foreign policy interests: the former in regard to earth-bound astronomical observation,[47] to the extent that such contribute data utilized by the Pentagon; and the latter in regard to trading partners whose citizens might be outraged by space advertising and demand trade-based retribution.
Even if those arguments are unpersuasive, the central phrase is certainly "public health and safety." Courts have long accepted aesthetic considerations as being within the ambit of traditional police powers. For example, the states of Hawaii, Maine, Alaska, and Vermont allow no billboards whatsoever.[48] As the Supreme Court put it: "The concept of the public welfare is broad and inclusive. The values it represents are spiritual as well as physical, aesthetic as well as monetary. It is within the power of the legislature to determine that the community should be beautiful as well as healthy . . ."[49]
The third ("directly advances") element of Central Hudson is, at least for now (see next paragraph), easily satisfied: as opposed to all other artificial objects in orbit, space advertisements would implicate aesthetic issues. All other artificial space objects are either beyond sight or too fleeting and inconspicuous to require such regulation (and low-flying objects affect much smaller areas of the globe; hundreds of Goodyear blimps, simultane-ously aloft, would be required to cover the territory af-fected by the brief transit of one space billboard). A ban on space advertisements directly advances the preservation of heavenly aesthetics.
Having said that, however, it must be noted that -- in the intermediate future -- a substantial amount of foreign-controlled space advertising might weaken the argument. Once the skies are sufficiently cluttered, laws forbidding Americans to clutter them further might not directly advance a state interest (. . . or perhaps they might -- in regard to speech regulation, there are no analogous cases on point).[50] Chances are, courts would defer to legislative judgments regardless. A comparable issue (although not involving speech) might be environmental regulations that are stricter than those of, say, Mexico; a regulation rendered less reasonable due to its disregard by foreign neighbors might nevertheless be found reasonable enough by the courts.[51]
The fourth factor requires a reasonable "fit" between the law and the state interests. In Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, a leading commercial speech case, the Supreme Court found this factor to be satisfied in regard to a law against terrestrial billboards:
If the city has a sufficient basis for believing that billboards are . . . unattractive, then obviously the most direct and perhaps the only effective approach to solving the problems they create is to prohibit them. The city has gone no further than necessary in seeking to meet its ends. Indeed, it has stopped short of fully accomplishing its ends: It has not prohibited all billboards, but allows onsite advertising and some other specifically exempted signs.[52]

In regard to space advertising, the government is not banning all billboards, but instead only those in space. If this ban is unreasonable, it would have to be on a basis apart from the Central Hudson test. One possible objection is that the law creates a total prohibition of a particular expressive forum. The relevance of this point is expressed well in an early (and rare) article on space advertising:
In commercial speech cases, the audience's interest receives significant scrutiny because a large part of the rationale for protecting commercial expression lies in consumer interests in information. In evaluating the intrusion of a regulation on expression rights, courts should also investigate the availability of alternative means of communication. Commercial speech jurisprudence places greater emphasis on the rights of listeners to receive information than of speakers to communicate information. Nearly all of the Supreme Court's major commercial speech decisions that protect speech do so on the basis of advancing consumer interests in receiving information.[53]

In other words, one might argue that consumers are ill-served by forbidding all space-based advertising, in that no other medium approximates its reach. This seems unlikely, however, in that so little content can be communicated by space ads; even if scrolling script were possible, the speed of low-orbit transit would preclude viewers from reading more than two or three short (very short) sentences. Although these sentences might reach consumers otherwise beyond the reach of any other form of advertisement, the minimal amount of information conveyed seems a small consolation for cluttering the skies -- particularly given that many consumers are outside the reach of advertising (e.g., in remote rural regions) by choice, and thus could hardly be said to benefit by being unable to escape from the reach of commercial speech. As the above-quoted article concludes: "When the Court has not found that commercial speech advances consumer information interests, it has declined protection."[54]

The question of excluding an entire forum, implicating in turn the question of "alternative venues," also plays a part in the analysis of non-commercial (i.e., general) speech restrictions. In the Court's words, "Although pro-hibitions foreclosing entire media may be completely free of content or viewpoint discrimination, the danger they pose to the freedom of speech is readily apparent -- by eliminating a common means of speaking, such measures can suppress too much speech."[55] Put differently (by the author of a law review article): "[L]imiting the availability of particular means of communication . . . can significantly impair the ability of individuals to communicate their views to others. . . . To ensure 'the widest possible dis-semination of information' and the 'unfettered interchange of ideas,' the first amendment prohibits . . . content-neutral restrictions that unduly constrict the opportuni-ties for free expression."[56]
However, the case supplying the quote above (City of Larue v. Gilleo) repeatedly emphasized the value of "cheap and convenient form[s] of communication"[57] -- that is, forms of communication available to average citizens. Although not formally an element of a rule or test, it seems clear that the Court's concern is directed toward media whose re-striction would restrict the avenues for speech available to "persons of modest means or limited mobility."[58] Obvi-ously, this concern would not extend to the inability to launch multiple cable-connected low earth orbit satellites equipped with solar reflectors.
Apart from "alternative venue" concerns (as such), content-neutral[59] regulation of speech is acceptable "if it advances important governmental interests unrelated to the suppression of free speech and does not burden substantial-ly more speech than necessary to further those interests."[60] The latter clause (which encompasses the alternative venue issue) means that the restrictions must be narrowly tailored. Arguably, restrictions applicable to the entire sky are the antithesis of "narrow."
However, the Court has upheld restrictions against posting signs on public property throughout the city of Los Angeles[61] -- clearly, not a "narrow" zone of prohibition in the usual sense of the word. Once again, moreover, the Court upheld aesthetics as a sufficiently important inter-est: "[T]he visual assault on the citizens of Los Angeles presented by an accumulation of signs posted on public property . . . constitutes a significant substantive evil within the City's power to prohibit."[62] And, perhaps cru-cially, the Court expressly ruled against an exception for non-commercial speech: "To create an exception for . . . political speech and not other types of protected speech might create a risk of engaging in constitutionally forbid-den content discrimination. The City may properly decide that the esthetic interest in avoiding visual clutter just-ifies a removal of all signs creating or increasing that clutter."[63]
Space, of course, is not "public property" in the sense applied to the City of Los Angeles. Even if it were, however, it is not a "place[] which by long tradition or by government fiat ha[s] been devoted to assembly and de-bate,"[64] nor a place that has "immemorially been held in trust for the public, and, time out of mind, ha[s] been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts be-tween citizens, and discussing public questions."[65] Were it such a "public forum," the government (with allowable re-strictions on the time and manner of activities) would be "constitutionally obligated to make [it] available for speech."[66] But no citizen can expect the right to obtru-sively advertise in space to be among the "privileges, immunities, rights, and liberties" guaranteed by the Four-teenth Amendment.[67]
In short, Lavrynov would not fare much better in challenging the law as an unconstitutional restriction on non-commercial speech. On the other hand, three Justices dissented in Vincent, the Los Angeles case quoted above; it is worth noting the dissent's proposed standard:
[I]n order to uphold a restriction of speech imposed to further an aesthetic objective, a court must ascer-tain the substantiality of the specific objective pur-sued. . . . [U]nless courts carefully scrutinize aes-thetics-based restrictions of speech, they risk stand-ing idly by while important media of communication are foreclosed for the sake of insubstantial governmental objectives. . . . In this case, for example, it is essential that the Court assess the City's ban on signs by evaluating whether the City has a substantial interest in eliminating the visual clutter caused by all posted signs throughout the City -- as disting-uished from an interest in banning signs in some areas or in preventing densely packed signs. If, in fact, either of the latter two objectives constitute the substantial interest underlying this ordinance, they could be achieved by means far less restrictive of speech than a total ban on signs, and the ban, there-fore, would be invalid. . . . In cases like this, where a total ban is imposed on a particularly valu-able method of communication, a court should require the government to provide tangible proof of the legit-imacy and substantiality of its aesthetic objective.[68]

One searches in vain for international law regulating Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites -- there isn't any.[69] Of course, communications satellites must meet their own nation's telecommunication laws as well as observe the "technical co-ordination and economic harm consultation requirements of international satellite organizations."[70] Meanwhile, signatory nations to the "Outer Space Treaty" of 1967[71] are required to establish licensing regulations for launches,[72] but nothing compels them to include forgoing space advertising as a prerequisite to a license.
Generally, beyond communications-frequency coordination, LEO is of far less (non-military) international interest than geosynchronous orbit. Whereas the latter inherently involves scarcity in space allocation, the space accommodating LEO is much more a (very wide) band than a (relatively narrow) circle; once simple questions of jurisdiction[73] and liability for accidents[74] are answered, few other non-military/non-frequency issues have been considered serious enough to require international regulation or cooperation.
In short, as of today Lavrynov's device could be launched anywhere on earth (except the United States) by citizens of any other nation, so long as the "controlling interest" of the entity responsible for the launch is not American. Beyond that, the launch would have to be insured and meet local telecommunications requirements -- just like every other launch.

A single advertisement on a Lavrynov-style billboard could be worth tens of millions of dollars;[75] the cost of launching and maintaining the satellite could be covered, with millions to spare, by securing only two or three long-term customers. As Professor Passig suggests, space adver-tising seems all but inevitable; and even if international treaties are revised to forbid space advertising, the potential benefits may be so great as to tempt non-signa-tories to cash in (or signatories to refuse ratification). Given enough space billboards, the relative state interest in "aesthetics" may no longer strike the Supreme Court as being substantial enough to restrict the speech involved -- particularly if it is non-commercial (e.g., political or religious), in which case the dissent in Vincent might provide the needed arguments for a more libertarian, pro-business majority. For better or worse, the lucrative issue of advertising in space is likely to provide several of the legal issues of the 21st Century.

[1] See Kathy Prentice, Rocketing Your Message into the Star-Lit Heavens, MEDIA LIFE (July 24, 2000), available at http://
[2] See Interfax, Russian Inventor Suggests Placing Ads in Space (Mar. 10, 2004), available at e/B/0/28.html?id_issue=9678684.
[3] See Associated Press, Look to the Heavens, Spot an Advertisement (Mar. 11, 2004), available at http://

[4] Lavrynov must be referring to Low Earth Orbit or "LEO" satellites. The device clearly is not intended for geosynchronous orbit; nor is it likely that any space advertising device (for parallax reasons alone) could allow for satellites at that altitude (the altitude of geosynch-ronous objects is about 35,790 km, see Geosynchronous Orbit, WIKIPEDIA ENCYCLOPEDIA, available at http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Geosynchronous). A survey of data pertaining to visible satellites appearing over Santa Clara, California, in mid-May, 2004, suggests that the great majority of them have periods of less than two hours, altitudes of less than 1000 km, and very dim magnitudes between 10.0-5.0 (presumably, the magnitudes would be made lower, i.e. brighter, by reflectors). See Nasa Website, J-Pass Data, available at JPass.asp (requires applet). There are exceptions: TEAMSAT (magnitude 10.0) has an altitude of about 4000 km and a period of about 8 hours. Id. (note: TEAMSAT may be a satellite with an extremely elliptical orbit, meaning that its "altitude" as stated is a mean distance which varies considerably; I have been unable to determine whether this is true). UARS, whose altitude is 560 km and period is 96 minutes, has a magnitude of 2.0, id. -- making it (in NORAD's words) one of "the 100 (or so) brightest special interest satellites." See Redshift Multimedia Astronomy Website, Updates> RedShift 5> Spacecraft> Brightest Satel-lites, available at updt905030114.htm.
[5] This and the preceding paragraph were constructed from the sources cited in footnotes 2-3, supra. The direct quotes included are all statements attributed to Lavrynov. English-language Google searches for both "Alexander Lavry-nov" and "ads [or 'advertisements'] in space" provide only redundant references to the same sources. The Russian Pat-ent and Trademark Office provides no relevant online information in English. In short, I have found no indepen-dent verification of this information, nor any further references to Lavrynov (even with variant spelling).
[6] See "flash" timeline presentation on website of Dr. David Passig, available at
[7] See Prentice, supra note 1.
[8] See Jeff Deitrich, Advertising is Propaganda for American Consumer Culture, PENN. ST. COL. EDUC. CONNECTIONS (Apr. 2004), available at (para-phrasing anti-consumerism scholar Sut Jhally).
[9] See Nasa, Commercial Space Transportation Study, section, available at CommSpaceTrans/SpaceCommTransSec310/CommSpacTransSec310.html#3_10_3. Reports of Columbia's actual payment are contra-dictory; some suggest that the payment was withdrawn after several launch delays.
[10] Don E. Tomlinson & Rob L. Wiley, People Do Read Large Ads: The Law of Advertising from Outer Space, 47 FED. COMM. L.J. 535, 541 (1995) (quoting Devera Pine, Selling America on Orbiting Ads, OMNI (Feb. 1994), at 27). This source provided "leads" for much of this paper's approach to the question of speech regulation.
[11] See Todd Halvorson & Yuri Karash, Russia Takes the Lead in Space Age Advertising, SPACE.COM (May 31, 2001), available at 010531-1.html. A photo of the rocket is available at http:
[12] See id.
[13] See Prentice, supra note 1.
[14] See Richard Ingham Paris, Space: The Ultimate Billboard, Agence France-Presse (Mar. 14, 2000), available at http://
[15] Id.
[16] A.J.S. Rayl, DIALOGUE Colin Pillinger: On Beagle 2 and the Search for Life on Mars (Apr. 15, 2004), available at (Planetary Society website).
[17] See Prentice, supra note 1.
[18] See id.
[19] Space billboards could take one of two forms:
1) a single-entity billboard spacecraft, pro-grammed, powered, and launched to achieve and maintain a particular orbit and orientation; or 2) the payload of a separate spacecraft, which would, as orbiting space shuttles so often have done in the case of communication satellites, de-posit the payload into space and then fire roc-kets in the payload to achieve and maintain a particular orbit and orientation.
Tomlinson & Wiley, supra note 10, at 538.
[20] See Karl Grossman, Disgrace Into Space, 31 ECOLOGIST (Mar. 2001) (see sidebar, Space To Let: Advertising In The Skies), available at articles/ecologist.htm.
[21] Jeff Foust, post to TECH'Y REV. weblog (Mar. 12, 2004), available at asp?blogID=1319. This source refers to the device as a "giant Mylar balloon." Id. (Foust is the editor and publisher of Space Review.)
[22] 139 Cong. Rec. E. 2862 (comments of Sen. Molinari, Nov. 10, 1993).
[23] 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1733-34 (July 1, 1993) (quoting Dianne Dumanoski, Ads In Space? Don't Look Now, But . . ., BOS. GLOBE, May 14, 1993).
[24] Id.
[25] See 139 Cong. Rec. S. 7759. According (hyperbolically) to Sen. Jeffords, "Companies will pay $1.7 million to advertise for one minute on the Super Bowl to reach an audience of millions. A space billboard could reach bil-lions for days. At the Super Bowl rate, a space billboard is worth about $12 billion." 139 Cong. Rec. S. 7760 (comments of Sen. Jeffords, June 23, 1993).
[26] See 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1732 (July 1, 1993).
[27] See 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1733 (July 1, 1993).
[28] See 139 Cong. Rec. S. 7760 (paraphrase of Sen. Jeffords, June 23, 1993).
[29] I have been unable to find this in the Congressional Record, but several sources refer to it. See, e.g., Grossman, supra note 19.
[30] See 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1733 (July 1, 1993).
[31] As one source put it, quoting law professor Glenn Rey-nolds: "This bill is a law professor's nightmare. If one of my students had drafted this, I'd have given him an F, because the definition of space advertising is so broad, it basically outlaws everything -- TV commercials, company logos on the sides of rockets, the works. It's sloppy." Earl W. Phillips, The Concept Of "Billboards In Space", 5 ELECTRONIC J. ASTRONOMICAL SOC'Y ATLANTIC (Aug. 1993), available
[32] See 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1733 (July 1, 1993).
[33] 49 U.S.C. § 70109a (2002). Note that "a" is not a subsection -- the section itself is "70109a."
[34] See id. As for "conducted elsewhere": The requirements apply to "an entity organized or existing under the laws of a foreign country if the controlling interest . . . is held by an individual or entity" who or which is defined as a "citizen of the United States." See id. § 701029(1)(C). If applicable, a license is required "to launch a launch vehicle or to operate a launch site or reentry site, or to reenter a reentry vehicle, outside the United States"; or to do so "outside the United States and outside the terri-tory of a foreign country [unless the foreign country] has jurisdiction" by international agreement; or to do so "in the territory of a foreign country if . . . [by interna-tional agreement] the United States Government has juris-diction." See id. § 70104(A)
[35] See id. § 70109a(a).
[36] See id. § 70109a(b). The penalty provision for any violation of the subtitle is a maximum of $100,000 per day plus suspension or revocation of license; no special penalty is imposed for space advertising as such. See id. § 70115(c)(1).
[37] See id. § 70102(8).
[38] See id. § 70109a(c).
[39] See 2 U.S.C. § 431 (2002).
[40] See 23 U.S.C. § 131 (2002)(c)(5) (emphasis added).
[41] For example, Lavrynov could apply for a license and, when denied one, sue the Secretary of Transportation -- the route chosen (in effect) by many of those who challenged the constitutionality of limiting marriage licensing to opposite-sex couples; those plaintiffs correspondingly sued whichever state officer applied legislative restrictions in overseeing marriage licensing. See, e.g., Baehr v. Lewin, 852 P.2d 44 (Haw. 1993).
[42] Licensing restrictions that implicate free speech issues are permitted (absent other constitutional flaws) if "the government has an important reason for licensing and only if there are clear criteria leaving almost no discretion to the licensing authority." Erwin Chemerinsky, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 946 (2001). Here there is no discretion; and the governmental interests arguably include: aesthetics (an accepted interest in regard to interstate billboard laws and state billboard restrictions, see, e.g., 23 U.S.C. § 131 (2002)); limiting the detrimental effect space bill-boards would have on earth-based astronomical observation; and foreign policy concerns in terms of trading partners who might object to space advertising.
[43] 447 U.S. 557 (1980).
[44] 492 U.S. 469 (1989).
[45] 527 U.S. 173 (1999).
[46] See generally 49 U.S.C. § 70101 et seq.
[47] Carl Sagan warned that space advertising "may destroy optical ground-based astromony." Carl Sagan, letter to Rep. Edward J. Markey, June 3, 1993 (reprinted in 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1733 (July 1, 1993)). And in the words of Rep. Constance Morella (paraphrasing, in part, British astrono-mer Dr. Derek McNally): "[I]mportant astronomical research will be jeopardized . . . [presenting] a very serious chal-lenge to sustained deep sky studies. As a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, I want to fur-ther astronomical research and ensure its safety. These orbiting billboards will damage a fundamental science." 139 Cong. Rec. E. 1732 (comments of Rep. Morella, July 1, 1993)). These concerns were voiced in the context of Space Marketing's "giant ballon"; it is unclear whether they would be relevant to Lavrynov's device.
[48] See Editorial, Ban Billboards, SALT LAKE CITY TRIB. (Apr. 29, 2004).
[49] Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26, 32-33 (1954). In the context of speech issues, the Supreme Court has written:

In Kovacs v. Cooper, 336 U.S. 77 (1949), the Court re-jected the notion that a city is powerless to protect its citizens from unwanted exposure to certain methods of expression which may legitimately be deemed a pub-lic nuisance. In upholding an ordinance that prohib-ited loud and raucous sound trucks, the Court held that the State had a substantial interest in protect-ing its citizens from unwelcome noise. In Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights, 418 U.S. 298 (1974), the Court upheld the city's prohibition of political advertising on its buses, stating that the city was entitled to protect unwilling viewers against intrusive advertis-ing that may interfere with the city's goal of making its buses "rapid, convenient, pleasant, and inexpen-sive," id. at 302-303 (plurality opinion). . . . These cases indicate that the municipalities have a weighty, essentially esthetic interest in proscribing intrusive and unpleasant formats for expression.
Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 805-06 (1984).
[50] The Court has written: "The notion that a regulation of speech may be impermissibly underinclusive is firmly grounded in basic principles of the Federal Constitution's First Amendment[.]" City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43, 51 (1994)(emphasis in original). However, in this case the underinclusion would result entirely from "inclusion" legitimized by foreign governments.
[51] There is no basis for this presumption -- indeed, this issue (foreign activity negating the interests of "aesthetics" by cluttering the skies) may prove to be the very point that one day obliges a court to find the ban on space advertising unconstitutional.
[52] Metromedia, Inc. v. City of San Diego, 453 U.S. 490, 508 (1981).
[53] Tomlinson & Wiley, supra note 10, at 553-54.
[54] Id. at 554.
[55] City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43, 55 (1994).
[56] Geoffrey R. Stone, Content-Neutral Restrictions, 54 U. CHI. L. REV. 46, 57-58 (1987).
[57] See City of Ladue, 512 U.S. at 57.
[58] See id.
[59] Although the term "content neutral" may not always pro-vide a bright line, in the case of banning space advertis-ing there can be little question of neutrality: all adver-tising is banned, regardless of content. Generally, "con-tent neutral" means "viewpoint neutral" and "subject matter neutral." CHEMERINSKY, supra note 42, at 908. "Viewpoint" refers to the ideology of the speech's message; "subject matter" refers to the topic of the speech. Id. at 908-09.
[60] Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc. v. Federal Communica-tions Commission, 520 U.S. 180, 189 (1997).
[61] See Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789 (1984).
[62] Id. at 807.
[63] Id. at 816.
[64] Perry Education Assn. v. Perry Local Educators' Assn., 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1983).
[65] Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization, 307 U.S. 496, 515 (1939).
[66] See CHEMERINSKY, supra note 42, at 1134.
[67] See Hague v. Committee for Industrial Organization, 307 U.S. at 515.
[68] Members of City Council v. Taxpayers for Vincent, 466 U.S. 789, 824-28 (1984)(Brennan, J., dissenting).
[69] This refers to LEO satellites specifically; that is, in contrast to geosynchronous satellites, which are subject to a variety of international regulations and agreements. General space law, of course, applies to both -- but beyond general principles governing all space activities, such as jurisdiction and liability, nothing regulates the introduc-tion of new objects into LEO.
[70] See Sa'id Mosteshar, Legal Issues Concerning Low Earth Orbit Communications Satellites (Presentation to The Legal Subcommittee of The United Nations Committee On Peaceful Uses of Outer Space at the United Nations, New York, Mar. 31, 1993), available at html.
[71] The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Jan. 27, 1967, 18 U.S.T. 2410, 610 U.N.T.S. 205.
[72] "The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty." Id. at art. VI.
[73] Article VIII states: "A State Party to the Treaty on whose registry an object launched into outer space is carried shall retain jurisdiction and control over such object, and over any personnel thereof, while in outer space or on a celestial body." Id. at art. VIII.
[74] Under Article VI of the Outer Space Treaty, "a State Party assumes international responsibility and liability for the space activities conducted by its government and non-government entities." Delbert D. Smith, The Technical, Legal, and Business Risks of Orbital Debris, 6 N.Y.U. ENVITL. L.J. 50, 55 (1997).
[75] "At the Super Bowl rate, a space billboard is worth about $12 billion." 139 Cong. Rec. S. 7760 (comments of Sen. Jeffords, June 23, 1993). As noted, this is hyperbolic.