Thursday, April 5, 2018

SpaceX’s Earth views need a license now, probably thanks to the Tesla stunt

<em>SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket takes off from Vandenberg Air Force Base for the Iridium-5 mission.</em>

Friday morning, SpaceX was prepping for what should have been an otherwise routine launch — sending 10 satellites into orbit for long-time customer Iridium — when the company made a strange announcement. During the livestream leading up to the mission, a SpaceX employee explained that the company would have to cut off footage from the Falcon 9 rocket once the vehicle reached orbit. And the host said restrictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were to blame.

Viewers were immediately confused. SpaceX had cut off livestreams early before — but only for national security reasons. Why was NOAA, an agency devoted to studying the Earth’s climate and oceans, getting involved in the launch of commercial communications...

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