April 11, 2007


California Rep. Ken Calvert, ranking Republican on a House Science subcommittee overseeing NASA programs, surprised an industry conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., by announcing plans to introduce a bill that would make “NASA space assets available for commercial advertising and marketing opportunities.” If that ever becomes law, companies and universities might be able to market themselves by plastering logos on equipment or sponsoring equipment such as cameras on the International Space Station.

The revenues, ultimately reaching perhaps $100 million, would be used to build up a self-sustaining prize fund to honor space innovations by entrepreneurs. Calvert said his aim is to increase public awareness of manned space exploration programs without spending taxpayer money. The congressman suggested it could evolve into “an advertising system” similar to those used by public radio and the Smithsonian Institution “which have long-term, dedicated and tasteful sponsorship” arrangements.

Interesting idea.

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