Space: The final ad frontier 

Time for another trip into the far, far, far-out frontiers of free enterprise. Today, Spaceship Hightower takes you into a curious time warp where big government metamorphs into big business.

Take a close look at the brand new International Space Station, largely developed by NASA and funded by us good ol' American taxpayers to the tune of $40 billion.

But according to a report by Gannett News Service, now that our government has put this orbiting outpost into space, the metamorphosis is already under way to turn over a third of its capacity to private corporations. Indeed, a NASA study has quietly identified 13 categories of businesses that can make use of the space station, ranging from biotech firms to -- brace yourself for this -- advertising agencies.

Great. We spend 40 billion big ones and we get an orbiting billboard? We're bombarded with way too many ads as it is, not merely through the media, but everywhere we turn. City buses are now entirely wrapped in product promotions, apples come with little stickers promoting movies, the hallways of our public schools scream "Coca-Cola" and "Nike" at our children, and even standing at a self-service gas pump means enduring electronic promos for assorted products. Having covered every space on earth, must corporations now be allowed to cover space itself?

Not to worry though: NASA officials say that "good taste" will be required for any outer-space ads. Sure.

They can say this, but NASA won't really be the arbiter of how companies use the space station, since it's planning to remove itself from management of the commercial portion, turning this responsibility over to a sort of outer-space chamber of commerce controlled by the corporations themselves.

Our nation's space program ought to serve public need ... not private greed.

Jim Hightower is an author, radio commentator, public speaker and political sparkplug from Austin, Texas. For more populist commentary, visit his website.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

Speaking of Jim Hightower

More by Jim Hightower


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 14, 2021

View more issues


© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation