10 thoughts on “The New Launch Rules”

  1. “Mike Pence, please pick up a white courtesy phone. Mike Pence, please pick up a white courtesy phone.”

    I think this quote from the article about sums it up: “The Commercial Spaceflight Federation, along with SpaceX and Blue Origin want the public to believe that we are now at a point with space launch similar to air travel. But we’re not there yet. We are decades away from that.”

    And legacy aerospace is there to make sure we stay decades away from that. If it comes down to it, bullets fly through the air and ballistic trajectories, too, but I don’t see where we gave the FAA regulatory authority over firearms.

    1. If it comes down to it, bullets fly through the air and ballistic trajectories, too, but I don’t see where we gave the FAA regulatory authority over firearms.

      Don’t give them any ideas.

  2. I dunno, when I look at it, it seems way better than what we had before (at least for expendable vehicles). You aren’t given specific actions that are required, you just need to show the FAA that it is safe. (I was working on an application for a launch license recently)

    What are seen as the specific problem areas?

  3. Remember where the money that ULA etc. will throw at it comes from. How hard would it be for SpaceX to relocate to Brazil?

    1. Elon isn’t going to move to Brazil. He’ll stay and take down the whole MIC if he needs to. And he won’t have to do it alone.

    2. ITAR would prohibit SpaceX or any other American company from taking their space technology out of the USA. It’s the same reason that Musk can’t hire anyone but Americans for SpaceX. Rocket technology is also ICBM technology.

  4. Probably right. Of course the easiest way to dismantle the MIC is from the inside, to split it up. How many F35’s in the difference between Falcon Heavy and Delta IV? I’ll bet somebody is thinking about what they could do with a 50 ton recon satellite. Forget reading license plates from orbit, they could count Putin’s hair plugs.

  5. Since ULA doesn’t provide much in the way of commercial launch services, they don’t get many licenses (18 out of 128 launches, as of June 2018). So why should anyone care what they think of the new rule? Every launch by Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Orbit, Vector, Astra, Rocket Lab, and almost every launch by SpaceX must be under commercial license. What they think matters.

    ULA’s “objection” that the new space people supposedly think that space launch is just like airline travel is the most disingenuous (a term that is in itself euphemistic) I have ever heard. It leads one to believe that new space thinks that the safety of passengers is of concern here, when the FAA has no jurisdiction over that, and when no one in new space thinks there will be no loss of passenger life.

    The FAA rule is the same as the Air Force rules that govern launch from a federal range. It is specifically designed to “ensure public safety” (even though ensure is not within it’s statutory authority).

    No other mode of transportation in the entire history of humanity has ever laid down the requirement of having the transporter prove that no uninvolved party or property would be harmed by a given trip before that trip could commence. If such a rule had been imposed, that mode of transportation would cease to exist (commercially).

    As long as we treat space transportation as military artillery practice, it will go nowhere.

    1. I agree. We’re well past the V-2 testing era when we hoped rockets would stay pointy end up and not wander off and crash in Mexico.

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