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`Just Do It'...In Space?

In Business This Week


Twinkle, twinkle little...billboard? The prospect of advertisements visible to the entire Western hemisphere raised eyebrows this spring when Space Marketing Inc., based in Roswell, Ga., announced plans to put mylarlike signs up to three-quarters of a square mile big into low-earth orbit by 1996. Terrific marketing reach, for sure, even if the advertising does burn out after some 10 to 14 days of sky time.

But now, a bipartisan Capitol Hill group led by Senator James M. Jeffords (R-Vt.) has introduced legislation that would bar the licensing of billboard-bearing rocket launches as an affront to the global environment. The lawmakers also are pushing for a U.N. resolution and an international treaty that would have the same effect. Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), one of the initiative's sponsors, says he wants to ensure that pristine morning and evening skies aren't turned into "the moral equivalent of the side of a bus." For now, Space Marketing says it will forge ahead, trying to boldly plug where no one has plugged before.EDITED BY JULIE TILSNER

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