NOAA bureaucracy shuts down SpaceX telecast because stupid


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Government marches on! The NOAA bureaucracy forced SpaceX to shut down its launch telecast this morning because agency bureaucrats had decided that views of Earth in the background were the equivalent of a satellite remote sensing system that the agency is required to regulate.

It was definitely an issue with NOAA, the rocket company said. Apparently NOAA recently asserted that cameras on the second stage of the Falcon 9 rocket, which SpaceX uses for engineering purposes, qualify as a remote sensing system, which are subject to NOAA’s regulation. A provisional license obtained by SpaceX for Friday’s launch of the Iridium-5 mission required it to end views once the second stage reached orbit.

This raises some questions about the real purpose behind NOAA’s action, as the regulation specifically exempts “small, hand-held cameras.” SpaceX intends to obtain a full license for such camera views, and as of now there is apparently no restriction in place for SpaceX’s next launch of a NASA cargo ship from Florida, happening as early as Monday.

One theory put forth is that some bureaucrats at NOAA might not have liked the good press that SpaceX got when it broadcast views of the Tesla in space, launched by the Falcon Heavy, and wanted to exert their petty power. This might not be true. What is true is that this interference by NOAA in SpaceX operations is beyond stupid.

But then, why should be expect anything different from our present federal government?

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3 comments

  • I think that this illustrates how people forget the purpose of laws. Laws are to help people especially not harm each other. But bureaucrats too often enforce laws regardless of the original purpose of them. So, for example, parking meter people write tickets when a car is sitting all alone with numerous open spaces around it.

  • @DougSpace:

    I realized we’d gone off the rails in the 80’s when law enforcement agencies and bureaucracies referred to laws as ‘tools’.

  • wayne

    Why Did The NOAA Cut The Space X LaunchCast?
    Scott Manley March 31, 2018
    https://youtu.be/fxZ0sC8a7eY
    (4:19)

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