If I have a booster capable of reaching LEO, and want to launch it from a sailing platform in the middle of the South Atlantic (on the equator) do I have to notify some agency or state beforehand? Can it be mistaken for SLBM launch?

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    $\begingroup$ It seems the arms export control act has to be considered at the very least link $\endgroup$ Dec 1 '15 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ @randomUsername That would be a concern if I was a legal entity registered in the US. $\endgroup$
    – Kamen N.
    Dec 1 '15 at 22:01

It seems the host country of the company requires a permit. This has been done by only one company that I'm aware of, Sea Launch. Sea Launch was licensed by the FCC, as it was managed by Boeing. If it's not a company, then it would be the host country. And quite frankly, if a person don't have citizenship of any country, then they seem unlikely to be in such a position. In any such case, the UN should be notified, along with any country over which a piece of the rocket might drop a stage.

It could fairly easily be differentiated from a ballistic missile, long before it would get to a point of any real danger. Most rockets burn out after around 10 minutes, while it would take a full 40 minutes or so to get across the world. Once the rocket is burned out, it's very easy to tell, and I suspect the profile is radically different even for a rocket not yet burnt out. You should also notify whatever entity manages the air traffic in the area.

  • $\begingroup$ If it is not company? A natural person renting a platform and buying, building or acquiring by some other means the booster? $\endgroup$
    – Kamen N.
    Dec 1 '15 at 22:04
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    $\begingroup$ The person has to be a citizen of somewhere. $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Dec 1 '15 at 22:06
  • $\begingroup$ Can you provide some reference for "the host country of the company requires a permit" , except the FAA link? It is pertains to the US only. $\endgroup$
    – Kamen N.
    Dec 1 '15 at 22:09
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    $\begingroup$ @KamenN. No, that's it. It's in the Space Liability Convention, part of the Outer Space Treaty. It's not just some US law. It's international. $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Dec 1 '15 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Frankly the closest you will get to this is Sea Launch, so you would likely be following whatever procedures they do. To say something like "oh well Sea Launch is from X country and I'm from Y country" doesn't really make sense since in the space community the general attitude is cooperation and building on heritage -- much thought went into how they control their launches so why would you scrap all that and try to get away with something less? $\endgroup$ Dec 1 '15 at 22:45

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