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SpaceX for years passed the launch of rockets into space. The US authorities have only just realized that this is illegal

Because of this, the number of broadcasts of space launches can be greatly reduced – under the 1992 law the company needs a license.

Launch Falcon Heavy with Tesla on board. @SpaceX photo

On February 6, SpaceX Ilona Mask launched into space a superheavy carrier rocket in the world of Falcon Heavy with an electric vehicle Tesla on board. Broadcast start has gained 2.3 million views and has become one of the most popular in the history of YouTube. However, it was not until early April that the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that photos and video from SpaceX were not licensed.

Interrupted Falcon 9 launch

On March 30, the company successfully launched the Falcon 9 missile with ten telecommunications satellites. Broadcast start was conducted on the site and in social networks SpaceX, but at the very end of the video interrupted without explanation. A few minutes later, engineer Michael Hammersley (Michael Hammersley) said that the problems are caused by the limitations of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As noted by the publication Ars Technica, apparently in the control cameras on the second stage of the rocket were taken for remote sensing systems, for which a state license is required. “It seems to me that this is a mistake,” the representative of NOAA announced right after the launch of Falcon 9.

Why you need a license

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regulates the launch of satellites and missiles so that citizens can not create a device for surveillance and espionage. For conventional launch vehicles, permission is not needed, because they do not drive from the orbit, and only the start itself is shown. The agency wanted SpaceX to report on all the photos and videos made not for government projects.

Tesla electric vehicle in orbit

A spokesman for NOAA confirmed to Quartz that the management has just turned attention to popular SpaceX broadcasts that have been going on for the last 8 years.

NOAA only recently became aware that private companies are broadcasting from orbit to the general public. Now, the agency is required to monitor compliance with laws and work with companies to ensure that the necessary license is available.

Christopher Vaccaro
representative of NOAA

How has the position of the National Office changed about the license for SpaceX:

  • Friday, March 30: SpaceX announced that the broadcast was interrupted at the request of NOAA;
  • Friday, March 30, a few hours later: representatives of NOAA told reporters that they did not know about any restrictions for the company Mask;
  • Saturday, April 1: NOAA changed its mind and demanded from SpaceX to get a license for streams;
  • Wednesday, April 4: NOAA representative again changed his mind and noted that the company Mask “has come to them”. He added that “this is not management stated with the demand:” Hey, stop, you need a license. “

What will happen with SpaceX broadcasts

The license for broadcasts appeared in the law in 1992. According to the norms, the company is notified for 120 days, so that she can draw up all the documents. SpaceX applied to NOAA just four days before the start on March 30, but it is unclear why the conflict came to an interruption of the live broadcast.

Gizmodo noted that the law on licensing was adopted when private companies made high-quality photos from space and this threatened US national security. However, the cameras on SpaceX rockets do not make large photos of the Earth and do not shoot in such high quality. The astrophysicist at Harvard University, Jonathan McDowell, called these restrictions “unreasonable and bureaucratic.”

I believe that the law on the license for the image of the Earth was introduced without taking into account the permission of the photographs. Presumably, if I had a private version of the Voyager spacecraft making from outside the solar system a photo of a pale blue dot the size of a pixel, this would also require a license. This is silly.

Jonathan McDowell
astrophysicist from Harvard University

As suggested by Quartz, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has learned about private broadcasts from outer space thanks to the incredibly popular launch of Tesla into space. The representative of SpaceX explained that streams are needed not only for entertainment, but also for tracking the position of missiles and stages at launch. According to him, the company seeks to establish contact with NOAA and solve the problem.

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