Author Topic: Barge launching legalities.  (Read 7555 times)

Online speedevil

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Barge launching legalities.
« on: 01/09/2015 12:33 AM »
I have failed to find any threads on the legality of launching a test F9R from the barge.

Clearly, there are reasons why it's a bad idea compared to taking it back home, tearing it apart to whatever degree required, and then setting it up on a normal pad.

Various positives would include much, much reduced range-safety issues and range availability. (barring weather), as well as in principle much, much increased cadence.

Ignoring the technical aspects for the moment - what would the legalities be for a 'low' hop to say 10km, and a suborbital to 50 or 100km?

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #1 on: 01/09/2015 12:38 AM »
They still require a launch license. Even a 1m hop requires a launch license (unless your rocket is small enough to classify as "amateur", which Falcon obviously isn't.) Heck, last I heard the FAA were demanding launch licenses for tether testing (hopefully that insanity ended.)

.. and before you ask, it doesn't even matter if you're outside the country. If you're a US company, you need a launch license.


Jeff Bezos has billions to spend on rockets and can go at whatever pace he likes! Wow! What pace is he going at? Well... have you heard of Zeno's paradox?

Offline OnWithTheShow

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #2 on: 01/09/2015 02:15 AM »
ILS is a US company and I havent heard of any Protons getting launch licenses from the FAA.

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #3 on: 01/09/2015 02:18 AM »
ILS is a US company and I havent heard of any Protons getting launch licenses from the FAA.

ILS does not launch/operate the Proton.  It only sells rides on it.  More like a travel agent vs an airline operator.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2015 02:19 AM by Jim »

Offline OnWithTheShow

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #4 on: 01/09/2015 02:23 AM »
Not according to their website:

"Is a complete launch service organization comprised of about 65 professionals dedicated to performance, excellence, and customer satisfaction
Provides sales, marketing, mission management, launch operations, legal, licensing, and technical translation services.
Was founded in 1995. Since then, ILS has launched over 80 commercial Proton rockets.
Is a subsidiary of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev). Khrunichev has launched over 390 Proton rockets."

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #5 on: 01/09/2015 02:34 AM »
Not according to their website:

"Is a complete launch service organization comprised of about 65 professionals dedicated to performance, excellence, and customer satisfaction
Provides sales, marketing, mission management, launch operations, legal, licensing, and technical translation services.
Was founded in 1995. Since then, ILS has launched over 80 commercial Proton rockets.
Is a subsidiary of Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev). Khrunichev has launched over 390 Proton rockets."

That does not say they operate the vehicle or build the Proton. A hint would be the size of the company, 65 people is not a enough.   The other clue is that ILS is a subsidiary of Khrunichev, who is the manufacturer and operator of the vehicle and not a US company. 

Again, ILS is just an agent in procuring launch services.  "Provides launch operations" is just a way of saying that they are a go between the spacecraft and launch vehicle and processing facilities.

There is no way in any definition that Proton is a US launch vehicle.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2015 02:47 AM by Jim »

Offline OnWithTheShow

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #6 on: 01/09/2015 03:41 AM »
Gotcha. Just surprising that the FAA would have jurisdiction in foreign countries or international waters just because the company is American.  It is also another example of a government agency clearly in the pocket of the organizations it is meant to regulate.

Online meekGee

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #7 on: 01/09/2015 03:53 AM »
So who's building the rocket?
That's right.
Whatdayamean?
No, Whatdayamean is building the engines, tanks, and avionics
But that's everything!
No, Everything owns Who, that's why he's not operating the rocket.
But Why IS operating the rocket!
Who?

...

Yeah. If it wasn't sad it'd be funny.  Shortstop.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2015 08:24 PM by meekGee »
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #8 on: 01/09/2015 07:35 AM »
There is no way in any definition that Proton is a US launch vehicle.

Sure there is. Buy the Proton. Add 100% profit plus launch operations and you have an american rocket. Just look at what Orbital sciences is doing.

OK Orbital does some own work. But first stage engines and first stage tank are foreign. The Cygnus pressure vessel is foreign. Domestic is the second stage and the satellite bus that steers Cygnus,

Offline cscott

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #9 on: 01/09/2015 09:11 AM »
Gotcha. Just surprising that the FAA would have jurisdiction in foreign countries or international waters just because the company is American.  It is also another example of a government agency clearly in the pocket of the organizations it is meant to regulate.

If you as an American launch a rocket from international waters and it lands on, say, North Korea, all the rest of us Americans are going to have to deal with the aftermath.  You don't stop being an American citizen just because you wander offshore.

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #10 on: 01/09/2015 11:50 AM »

Sure there is. Buy the Proton. Add 100% profit plus launch operations and you have an american rocket. Just look at what Orbital sciences is doing.

OK Orbital does some own work. But first stage engines and first stage tank are foreign. The Cygnus pressure vessel is foreign. Domestic is the second stage and the satellite bus that steers Cygnus,

No.  Antares is more than 50% American, that is why NASA can use it.   Cygnus doesn't matter, it is the spacecraft.  Anyways, Antares is launched from US soil.  The discuss is about license for launches not on US soil.

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #11 on: 01/09/2015 11:59 AM »
Gotcha. Just surprising that the FAA would have jurisdiction in foreign countries or international waters just because the company is American.  It is also another example of a government agency clearly in the pocket of the organizations it is meant to regulate.

Quite wrong, it is not such an example.    Totally off base and ridiculous. I don't know where you get that idea.  You didn't even know it was happening and then you assume that there is corruption.
There is no benefit to either organization if there were such an exchange of money. 

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #12 on: 01/09/2015 12:35 PM »
Cygnus doesn't matter, it is the spacecraft.

Are you serious?

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #13 on: 01/09/2015 12:39 PM »
Cygnus doesn't matter, it is the spacecraft.

Are you serious?

Yes.  It is not part of the launch vehicle and hence does not enter into the licensing discussion.  The launch vehicle is licensed and not its payload.  US launch vehicles have launched many foreign satellites.

Online meekGee

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #14 on: 01/09/2015 01:28 PM »
If we keep talking about how much of Antares is (was) american, the thread is doomed.

Which is a shame, since it's a good topic.
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Offline guckyfan

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #15 on: 01/09/2015 01:29 PM »
If we keep talking about how much of Antares is (was) american, the thread is doomed.

Which is a shame, since it's a good topic.

You are correct so I refrain from answering Jims last post.

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #16 on: 01/09/2015 01:39 PM »
If we keep talking about how much of Antares is (was) american, the thread is doomed.


It doesn't matter how much of Antares is (was) american including the payload, it is launched from US soil for a commercial mission and hence needs an FAA license.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2015 01:41 PM by Jim »

Offline Jim

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #17 on: 01/09/2015 01:44 PM »
Sealaunch Zenit-SL was less than 50% US content and was not allowed to launch US gov't spacecraft.  But since Boeing was at the time, the largest partner in the Sealaunch consortium, Sealaunch was required to have an FAA license.

Online meekGee

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #18 on: 01/09/2015 01:56 PM »

Back to barges, and ignoring (as the OP asked) the very significant technical issues, legally it would be the same as launching from US land.
« Last Edit: 01/09/2015 01:57 PM by meekGee »
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Online speedevil

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Re: Barge launching legalities.
« Reply #19 on: 01/09/2015 02:47 PM »

Back to barges, and ignoring (as the OP asked) the very significant technical issues, legally it would be the same as launching from US land.
I guess in principle handing over the rocket to a 'flag' launcher might be feasible to sidestep the FAA, but then ITAR gets in the way, I would assume.

I do wonder what the relative cost and speed of such an application would be.

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