Advertising is good for business, as any business person will know, and up to a point, the business of space flight is no different. However, despite NASA’s hugely successful marketing campaigns in the late 1950’s and right throughout the 1960’s when it sold the Moon to the world, the Challenger disaster in 1984 completely de-romanticized the notion of pace flight.
Moreover, the Strategic Defence Initiative, dubbed Star Wars, did much to remove any remaining romantic notions around space flight from the collective public consciousness, and from a purely marketing perspective, it became almost impossible to push the advantages of space flight back into the headlines.
Most of the advertising around spaceflight is now done on an in-house basis by the aerospace companies involved, with the notable exception of Virgin Galactic, who had been using the mainstream media to promote the notion of space tourism. However, the destruction of one of their craft in an accident had a huge negative impact on the idea of space tourism, and flights have been postponed indefinitely.
However, as a marketing strategy, NASA’s efforts to sell the idea of moon landings were hugely successful, and nothing like it has been done since, but then again, NASA operated under vastly different conditions then than it does now, so watch this space for more insight on how NASA sold the Moon, as well as some other, albeit less spectacular marketing campaigns by marketing companies, space agencies including ESA and MarsOne.