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Mon, Feb 23, 2004

NASA's Return To Flight, Brought To You By...

Could Corporate Sponsorship Be The Shuttle's Salvation?

Imagine this:

An astronaut stands by the airlock aboard the International Space Station, obviously anxious. Suddenly, the lock cycles, the door pops open and here comes...

A Domino's Pizza delivery. It could happen, especially if someone at NASA is listening to Robert Lorsch.

Lorsch is an ad man who heads up the RHL Group in Hollywood. His idea is a simple one: Sell corporate sponsorships to the space program.

Don't laugh. Lorsch says that could raise millions for a space program desperately seeking cash to fulfill President Bush's promise of missions to the Moon and Mars over the next three decades. Lorsch says selling shuttle sponsorships could raise up to $100 million before the shuttle's return to flight in 2005.

"And I would be amazed if it wasn't much, much more than that," he said.

There are, of course, a few obstacles standing in the way. For instance, a long-time NASA prohibition on astronaut endorsements. And there's no real mechanism for the government to receive advertising revenue. But, hey, we can work that out, can't we?

Once again, imagine this:

"Hi, I'm James Kelly, pilot of STS-114 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. I've just completed SRB sep, orbital insertion and have charted a course to the ISS. It's Miller Time."

Or...

"Red Bull. It gives NASA wings."

"Atlantis. Powered By MOPAR."

"Big Mac: The Official Sandwich Of The International Space Station"

FMI: www.nasa.gov

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