Are civilians allowed to send objects into orbit, or even leave orbit, like send something to the moon or deep-space? If they can what kind of paperwork/waivers/licenses etc. need to be obtained before they can do it.

  • $\begingroup$ Here is a non governmental mission to the moon which might give you a good direction for researching the requirements. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beresheet $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ To clarify your question, I assume you mean paperwork beyond the rocket launch itself? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 18:53
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    $\begingroup$ Yeah the launch is the easy part, not getting arrested is the trouble $\endgroup$
    – Not_Shark
    Commented Nov 15, 2020 at 19:26
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    $\begingroup$ I think that much if not all of the answer to this question can be found in bits and pieces of existing answers. Rather than start from scratch, an answer might benefit from rounding those up first. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ I don't have enough for an answer, but I know this much: the FCC regulates satellite by virtue of approving or denying a licence to operate a radio in orbit. A satellite without a radio is basically space junk. If you want to have cameras pointed at the earth, you need permission from NOAA. To traverse US airspace (i.e., launch), you need permission from the FAA -- this doesn't apply if you launch from elsewhere. I'm not sure of any other regulatory requirements, so if you wanted to pay a provider to launch a cinder block with your name on it, I don't think there'd be much you'd have to do $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Commented Nov 16, 2020 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


Sure, private companies do it all the time, and there's nothing (other than money) stopping you from doing it too. The licensing requirements vary depending on the country or countries you want to operate from. In the United States, the FAA issues licenses for launch and reentry. NOAA issues licenses for remote sensing, and the FCC handles radio communications. If you want to control the whole thing - from launch to operations of the craft - you'll need whichever of those are applicable.


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