No Billboards in Space

I’m a little late blogging on this, but the FAA has proposed regulations to prohibit billboards in space. Comments are due by July 18.

Unfortunately, the news reports didn’t accurately capture the issue. Congress already outlawed “obtrusive space advertising” in 49 USC 70109a, apparently in 2000, so now the FAA appears to be promulgating implementing regulations 5 years later. (Why so long?)

What’s perplexing me is–what prompted this statute in the first place? It sure seems expensive to launch and maintain an orbiting billboard large enough to be seen. I don’t really have a problem with space billboards being illegal, but I’m just trying to figure out if this is one of those overreactions to some crackpot vendor.

Any space/aeronautical lawyers reading this blog who can help me out?