Back on 30th of March, SpaceX delivered yet another of its Falcon 9 rockets in the sky, presenting a payload of ten satellites into space for communications firm Iridium. Everything went pretty much according to plan – apart from SpaceX failing to hook the nosecone piece it was targeting for – but one thing stuck out viewers of the launch live stream of the company. 

Prior of all the deployments and separations were done, SpaceX needs to cut its stream short, mentioning the fact that it didn’t have the license from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to show the rest of their mission. 

As one would anticipate, this caused many theories to flood forth. SpaceX has been obliged to cut its live broadcast short in the past, but typically only when they’re presenting a government payload into space. NOAA delivered a statement telling that it was responsible for SpaceX stopping its stream in the middle, and pointed out to a licensing standard as the reason. According to a report from CNN, this licensing debacle appears to have come out of unquestionably nowhere.

NOAA has had the control in place for some time, and it needs anyone who prefers to broadcast from space and display images of Earth, to have consent to do so. Nonetheless, it is a law, which has been sporadically imposed since its launch, and SpaceX has done plenty of space launch broadcasts without thinking about a license in the past. 

NOAA explained in their statement that they oblige a commercial remote sensing license for corporations having the ability to take a photo of Earth while in space. SpaceX provided an application 4 days before it had to take off the Iridium Next Satellites, however, that was just enough time to gain permission to host a live broadcast before the Falcon 9 reached space. Now that launch firms are placing video cameras on stage 2 rockets, which extend an on-orbit status, all those launches will be held to the guidelines of the law and their conditions.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claim that the law exists because broadcasting from orbit has substantial national security implications, and it needs to guarantee no important information is compromised when a firm considered to begin streaming from space. Moving forward, it appears as though the fame of SpaceX has provided the law new life, and one can bet that every future takeoff will require NOAA broadcasting clearance.