FAA: What goes up may not come back down without a re-entry permit

Originally published at: FAA: What goes up may not come back down without a re-entry permit | Boing Boing




Presumably the FAA only has the authority to care if your vessel is going to land in US territory, no? I’m surprised that it was worth dealing with the FAA for two months while this thing stays up in orbit instead of just bringing it down in a more permissible country (or international waters, but perhaps they don’t want a splashdown?).


Their plans were to land the capsule in a remote part of Utah that’s controlled by the US Air Force. Presumably it’s easier and less costly for them to deal with this delay and keep orbiting a bit longer than it is to arrange some deal with another country and work out the orbital and logistical challenges to land in a totally different part of the world. (And it looks like this wasn’t designed for spashdowns.)


Maybe if the craft wore an orange vest and carried and extension cord, while re-entering backwards the gate keeps wouldn’t notice.


Also, if there’s one thing I learned from Hidden Figures it’s that any deviation from the planned reentry trajectory involves doing lots and lots of difficult math homework.


They’ve already pissed off the FAA once by ignoring the need for a reentry permit. If they don’t fix this now, there aren’t going to be a lot of other launch options available to them.

If they ever want to launch from the US again, they’ll do whatever it takes to figure this out.


The code for the shield is 1-2-3-4-5. Everyone knows that. It’s the same as the combination to my luggage.


What goes up…better doggone well stay up!

Given the predictability of the need for a re-entry permit for a mission whose whole gimmick was re-entering I can only imagine that there’s some reasonably sordid tale of incompetence, hubris, or dysfunction that made hoping to force the issue with the urgency of a payload already in orbit, rather than just filling out the paperwork ahead of time, seem like the best option.


Looks like someone wanted to be disruptive, again.


It’ll be two out of three, but hubris is assumed.

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Did the Osiris-Rex sample return capsule have a permit? While watching that live event, nobody mentioned it once. But then again, that was a NASA mission and everyone knows, NASA owns the FAA.

I think it’s one of those standard, routine things that normally doesn’t merit mentioning. Like noting whether the pilots of the Space Shuttle held current pilot’s licenses during reporting of a shuttle landing.

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My (layman’s) understanding is that NASA does not have a permit in the same sense that Varda needs to.

Title 14 Chapter III puts the FAA in charge of licensing for commercial space operations, with licensing specifically being Part 450; what NASA does is Chapter V.

I’ve not been able to find the terms that govern interactions between NASA and the FAA; though I can only assume that they at least chat informally about their mutual goal of not crashing into things and places where it would be very helpful for civil aviation to not be right now, thanks. If anyone does know how that is arranged; I’d be curious.

There’s another good example… did they have licenses? It never came up! /s

If Elmo Must would just buy the FAA and NASA both for $420B, our national airspace would be SO much better. /s

… and checking in on weatherman Tex Antoine.

You’re probably right, but the landing zone for both of these missions is a military training range controlled by the USAF, so I would expect that there’s some sort of formal coordination/scheduling berween NASA and the Air Force that might involve paperwork even if it’s not the same kind of FAA permit.

i would have guessed like you did. but here’s the scoop

Who Needs a License or Permit?

FAA does not license launches or reentries “by and for” the United States Government. NASA and the Department of Defense typically carry out their own launches.


If it’s U.S. owned (even in part) or operated on U.S. territory, it needs authorization.


You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger. And you don’t mess around with NASA.