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57 votes
Accepted

Why isn't SpaceX's Starship "trial and error" development strategy an open source project?

There are many reasons. They include money, intellectual property, regulations, and Elon Musk. Money. Building open source software is relatively inexpensive, sometimes ridiculously inexpensive. No ...
David Hammen's user avatar
41 votes

Did the FAA license the Ingenuity helicopter to fly on Mars?

The FAA is not responsible for every US vehicle as that other answer alluded to. FAA licensing covers pilots, commercial aircraft, aircraft operators, and commercial spacecraft Earth launches and ...
Gavin Mendeck's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

Why do Space X starship launches need permission from the FAA?

Because it's required by law (51 USC Ch. 509: Commercial Space Launch Activities) and by FAA regulations (14 CFR Chapter III - Commercial Space Launch Activities, Federal Aviation Administration, ...
David Hammen's user avatar
27 votes

Why do Space X starship launches need permission from the FAA?

To expand a bit on David Hammen's answer, the reasons for the regulations requiring FAA permits for rocket launches are related to public safety (or sometimes the egos of bureaucrats, but mostly ...
reirab's user avatar
  • 1,639
23 votes
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Which regulatory agency (if any) is in charge of investigating civilian rocket anomalies?

FAA again. They license all commercial launches, and are responsible for investigating. The FAA has officially grounded New Shepard, pending review. They will also oversee the investigation. ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
22 votes
Accepted

Did the FAA license the Ingenuity helicopter to fly on Mars?

No According to the FAA itself, licensing is for private individuals and companies, and applies only to the launch and re-entry parts of the flight: An FAA license is required for any launch or ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
  • 48k
20 votes

What does it mean for a launcher to be 'nuclear-certified'?

Really what it means is "Category 3" certified, with an additional review of a self-destruct situation to prevent breaking the nuclear payload. Category 3 is also what is required to launch humans, ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
17 votes

Which regulatory agency (if any) is in charge of investigating civilian rocket anomalies?

NTSB and FAA share responsibility You have great timing! Five days ago, FAA and NTSB signed an agreement on this exact issue. You can read the full text of the agreement here (PDF) and the NTSB's ...
Andrew Breza's user avatar
13 votes
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How did Conrad let Bean drive Apollo 12? Did anyone get in trouble?

If such a thing happened, it would most likely have been during the approach and rendezvous of the LM ascent stage with the CM, as Conrad and Bean were returning from the lunar surface. The most ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
10 votes
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Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by India?

Sorry for being a few weeks late to this, but hopefully I can shed some light on how to think about it. The ISRO launch of these satellites is legally problematic in several ways. First, and as ...
SpaceLawyer's user avatar
  • 1,428
10 votes

Is there such a thing as a "rocket license" in the US?

In the USA you must be at least 18 years old for the following, so that video may be incorrect. For example HPR Level 1 Certification by the National Association of Rocketry or NAR provides ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Current situation with CoCom regulations and GPS receivers for balloons and cubesats

There is a standard clause included in all GPS receiver manuals regarding COCOM Limits. I cannot find the source of this clause, but since it is worded exactly the same in all the manuals I could find,...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
9 votes

What is the legal status of waste rocket parts ending up in the ocean?

Are you interested in the liability for damage and contamination or the ownership? Either way there are holes you could drive a bus through. Most importantly in what follows, please bear in mind ...
Puffin's user avatar
  • 9,644
9 votes

Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by India?

The satellites were launched on a vehicle operated by the indian government, with (at least implicit) permission of India. This is clearly not a violation of the Outer Space Treaty, it only means ...
Rainer P.'s user avatar
  • 1,172
9 votes

What regulations, agreements, or other forces can help mitigate "PrankSats"?

For your specific example, the answer is cost. Nobody is going to spend hundreds of millions (or even just 1% of that) just to prank a community of astronomers. For other examples? What stops China ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 11.7k
8 votes

Why is Rocketlab working with a Federal Aviation Administration to investigate an early 2nd stage engine shutdown?

The Federal Aviation Administration is the United States' Federal Government organization responsible for every US vehicle that flies. The Electron flies, and it is launched by a US company, hence, it ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
8 votes

Did the FAA license the Ingenuity helicopter to fly on Mars?

Out of jurisdiction Per outer space treaty, Mars is not in the jurisdiction of any US Government Agency.
Erkin Alp Güney's user avatar
8 votes

If Country A's rocket hits an incorrectly declared satellite of Country B, which institution can arbitrate the dispute? Under which international law?

I'm going to assume here that both states are parties to the Liability Convention (see page 14 of that pdf) ("Convention"), which is likely since most spacefaring states are currently ...
SpaceLawyer's user avatar
  • 1,428
7 votes
Accepted

Why does the NOAA require a permit to be issued to stream images of the earth?

Why does the NOAA require a permit to be issued to stream images of the earth? It's not just streaming. It includes all mechanisms for taking images of the Earth from space and somehow having that ...
David Hammen's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Are SpaceBEEs actually hard to track?

I think the answer to this is basically no or at least not any harder than other 1U CubeSats. I base this answer on two lines of argument. Also your data above more or less proves what I am about to ...
Knudsen Number's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

What does it mean when a software is called open-source for US-release only?

Here is what the NASA Software FAQ says: The release type determines who can have a NASA software code. If you meet the access criteria for the code (as defined below), NASA can transfer the ...
called2voyage's user avatar
  • 23.7k
6 votes
Accepted

What "regulatory purposes" would limit a launch test of a new vehicle to 50,000 feet?

Vector flew their test at the Friends of Amateur Rocketry site, which has permits from the FAA to fly to 50,000 feet on weekends without obtaining additional permits per launch. For early tests of ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
6 votes

Why does the NOAA require a permit to be issued to stream images of the earth?

The National and Commercial Space Programs Act (NCSPA) says: It is unlawful for any person who is subject to the jurisdiction or control of the United States, directly or through any subsidiary or ...
Bob Jacobsen's user avatar
  • 12.7k
6 votes

Regulation in space, debris and end of life considerations

The regulations and international guidelines for space debris were recently overhauled in 2018 after a long 20+ year lull. This is key to prevent any accidents in space as the number of low orbit ...
Prashanth Chandrasekar's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Most recent launch of a nuclear reactor, and current barriers to launching the next one?

From the Wikipedia list, the most recently launched nuclear reactor appears to be a TOPAZ-I on Kosmos 1867, launched by the USSR in 1987. It's parked in a 800km orbit at 65ยบ inclination and appears ...
Russell Borogove's user avatar
6 votes

If Elon Musk wanted to bring back some Martian soil, would US permission be required?

Yes, and you've answered the question in your question! As you note, the FAA regulates launch and reentry for US-based operations. As part of this regulation, the FAA sends around applications to ...
SpaceLawyer's user avatar
  • 1,428
6 votes

What are the implications of claiming space heritage if you don't have it?

There are lots of ways that claims are made. When a scientist writes an abstract for a paper, the abstract will generally "make claims" that will hopefully be substantiated later in the ...
phil1008's user avatar
  • 5,632
5 votes
Accepted

What is "TFR" in the context of operating a marine radar on top of a "water tower" at a launch site?

It stands for Temporary Flight Restriction. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temporary_flight_restriction Presumably the TFR is in place for whatever SpaceX is doing and the radar will be ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes

How did Conrad let Bean drive Apollo 12? Did anyone get in trouble?

Another candidate for Al Bean driving during the trip back is this line from day 9 of the mission. 211:18:45 Conrad: In case you're watching the DSKY, it's a little OJT [on the job training] for Al,...
Mark's user avatar
  • 15.3k
5 votes

What precautions are planned to prevent samples returned from Mars crashing and releasing organisms into Earth's environment?

Humanity hasn't yet reached a consensus. Return samples obtained from a Category V body must be curated at facilities rated Biosafety level-4 (BSL-4). Because the existing BSL-4 facilities ... do not ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar

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