April 11th, 2007
Congressman Proposes Ads on NASA Assets
The Wall Street Journal
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration could become the next frontier for advertising campaigns, under a concept unveiled by one of the agency’s staunchest supporters in Congress.
California Rep. Ken Calvert, the 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 the measure becomes law, companies and universities would be able to market themselves by plastering their logos on NASA equipment or sponsoring the International Space Station.
Rep. Calvert said his aim is to increase public awareness of manned space-exploration programs, which face increasing budget pressures on Capitol Hill. Under his concept, funds received by the agency would be used to build up a self-sustaining prize fund to honor space innovations by entrepreneurs.
Doug Cooke, the NASA official in charge of manned-exploration programs, said, “Any idea like that deserves conversation.” NASA considered the idea a number of years ago, he said, and “I think we ought to look at what opportunities are out there.”