What´s the Deal with SpaceX, NOAA and Live Rocket Launch Video?
Added 03-30-18 11:09:08pm EST - “It was weird today (March 30) when, 9 minutes into an otherwise routine SpaceX Falcon 9 launch of 10 Iridium Next communications satellites from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, SpaceX cut the feed. Here's why.” - Space.com
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Whenever SpaceX launches a rocket, you can bet the views will be spectacular. After all, SpaceX has cameras up and down its Falcon 9 rockets that offer live views from space as each booster soars into (and sometimes back from) space.
So it was weird today (March 30) when, 9 minutes into an otherwise routine Falcon 9 launch of 10 Iridium Next communications satellites from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, SpaceX cut the feed. The video blackout was intentional because of "restrictions" from a U.S. government agency known for its own live views of Earth from space.
"Due to some restrictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA for short, SpaceX will be intentionally ending live video coverage of the second stage just prior to engine shutdown," SpaceX materials engineer Michael Hammersley said during a live webcast commentary of the Iridium-5 mission. "We're working with NOAA to address these restrictions in order to hopefully be able to bring you live views from orbit in the future."
Those restrictions, Space.com has learned, apparently hinge on a recent NOAA assertion that the cameras on SpaceX's Falcon 9 second stage can qualify as a "remote sensing space system," which would require a provisional license from the U.S. agency if SpaceX wanted to show the live video and still launch on time.
SpaceX has webcast live views from rocket cameras on most, if not all, of its Falcon 9 launches and recently surpassed its 50th flight for the workhorse booster. And other U.S. launch providers, like the United Launch Alliance and Orbital ATK, have streamed live video from their rockets as well.
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