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Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program 201

Posted by Soulskill
from the load-all-the-lawyers-onto-the-first-rocket dept.
Kristian vonBengtson writes "A DIY, manned space program like Copenhagen Suborbitals is kept alive by keeping total independence, cutting the red tape and simply just doing it all in a garage. We basically try to stay below the radar at all time and are reluctant in engagements leading to signing papers or do things (too much) by the books. But now there might be trouble ahead. (Saul Goodman! We need you...) During the last 5 years we have encountered many weird legal cases which does not make much sense and no one can explain their origin. If we were to fix up a batch of regular black gunpowder (which we use for igniters) we are entitled for serving time in jail. Even a few grams. But no one give a hoot about building a rocket fueled with 12 tonnes of liquid oxygen and alcohol. Thats is perfectly legal. If Copenhagen Suborbitals fly a rocket into space for the first time there are likely legal action that must be dealt with. At my time at the International Space University we had lectures and exams in space law and I remember the Outer Space Treaty which is the most ratified space treaty with over 100 countries including Denmark and U.S. And here is the matter – in which I seek some kind of advice or what you may call it: Outer Space Treaty, Article 6 states: 'the activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty.' Does this mean that Denmark (or any other country for that matter – if it was your project) suddenly have to approve what we are doing and will be kept responsible for our mission, if we launch into space?"
von Bengston adds a related article about the organization's testing process. They had originally intended to burn Nitrocellulose as a way to open lids and deploy parachutes. It worked fine in the garage, but upon testing in low-pressure situations, they found that the chemical reaction slowed too much to be useful. The article includes videos of their tests.
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Ask Slashdot: Legal Advice Or Loopholes Needed For Manned Space Program

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  • by dtmancom (925636) <[moc.namtd] [ta] [2nodrog]> on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:07PM (#45195745) Homepage
    How do you guys plan to get into space and also stay under the radar?
  • Ask a lawyer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:09PM (#45195763)

    Let me get this straight...you're asking a bunch of predominantly non-lawyers about obscure legal issues that depend on both a knowledge of Danish law and an equally obscure international treaty? And your expecting advice that is a) helpful and b) actually correct?

    You need to talk to an actual lawyer. Barring that, from whatever law you can find, figure out who would be the one to decide to arrest you and start asking them questions. Any answers you get here, even if they are 100% correct, are useless if someone in a position of authority to act against you comes to a different conclusion.

    • by Overzeetop (214511) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:53PM (#45196103) Journal

      Lawyers? Fuck that.

      You're about to strap yourself on top of a home-built rocket filled with 12T of LOX and Alcohol, and initiate it with homemade black powder. In the world of probabilities, I say go for it and screw the lawyer talk. Your chances of surviving to face the authorities are so small as to be laughable. And, in the unbelievable chance you actually fly high enough to violate an international treaty, there's a good chance you'll be so God-damned famous you won't care - and you'll end up a hero with a 7 figure movie deal. Or at least a 6 figure RedBull attempt at a full orbit.

      • For every guy in the rocket, there has got to be a dozen support people on the ground, who all remain to go to jail for homicide of the astronaut and the destruction of whatever property the debris lands on. And they don't get to be God-damned famous either :(

        Oh, I guess also Denmark might slap them on the wrist for not not getting permission first.

      • Exactly. Don't submit to the arrogance of Westphalian sovereignty.

    • by currently_awake (1248758) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:06PM (#45196189)
      If you want obscure trivia about something that most people know nothing about, ask a nerd. Statistically your chance of getting a correct answer from a nerd is the same as the chance of getting a correct answer from a lawyer, within the margin of error of 50%.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      He's not asking anything, he's using the Ask Slashdot feature to (a) advertise his project without it looking like an advertisement, (b) whinge about laws that are designed to protect ordinary people, i.e. laws that make sure somebody doesn't shoot up a rocket that crashes back on top of a populated area.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:12PM (#45195781) Homepage Journal

    Slashdot for legal advice on an extremely complex topic?

    Yes, the country of origin would be responsible. You will need their permission and follow regulations.

    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
      Your signature seems surprisingly accurate in this particular instance.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      In TFA, they mention that they'll be launching from international waters.
      Which is what makes his question so interesting.

      If the launch is outside the borders of any State, why would they need "authorization and continuing supervision" from a State entity?

      Imagine if the effort was sufficiently international in nature, how would anyone decide which State has to give "authorization and continuing supervision"?

      • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bws111 (1216812) on Monday October 21, 2013 @10:10PM (#45196597)

        International waters are not some magical place where no law applies. You are still under the jurisdiction of whatever country's flag you are flying. And if you have a ship with rocketry on it you better be flying somebodies flag, or you will be boarded and seized by someone who assumes you are up to no good.

        As for the international group, that is also covered in the treaty. In that case, responsibity belongs to the international organization and the states to which its members belong.

        • by Telvin_3d (855514)

          You had damn well better cover your bases before launching, especially in international waters. If the first time the governments of the world take notice of you is when they detect your unannounced launch of an ICBM (And anything that can get into space is definitely showing up as an ICBM) in international waters it is going to end in tears.

        • by Yoda222 (943886)

          International waters are not some magical place where no law applies

          you will be boarded and seized by someone who assumes you are up to no good.

          Which law will they use for that ?

          • by bws111 (1216812)

            Maritime treaties to protect shipping have existed for a long time. They are the reason there is such a thing as 'international waters.' Basically, if you fly the flag of some country in what is defined as international waters you are under the protection of that country. An attack on you would be seen as a crime or act of war against the flagged country. Of course, if you fly a flag you are also subject to the laws of that country.

            If you fly unflagged you have no legal protection. There is no-one you

      • by khallow (566160)
        And again by the Outer Space Treaty their country of origin is responsible for anything they break while they're up there in orbit.

        Imagine if the effort was sufficiently international in nature, how would anyone decide which State has to give "authorization and continuing supervision"?

        Don't know, but wouldn't be hard for someone with a real navy to mess with them. I don't think it'd be automatic, but they would have to keep their act pretty clean and isolated and/or well defended to avoid getting raided.

  • Just do it (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:16PM (#45195819)
    Just do it. You'll probably kill yourself before anyone gets around to prosecuting you. Life's too short to be afraid of bureaucrats, especially in your case.
  • Hi neighbour! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rueger (210566) on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:18PM (#45195839) Homepage
    OK, let me get this right. Buddy wants to work with high explosives in his garage, and can't understand why the people in his neighbourhood might think that "red tape" like zoning, safety, and fire regulations might be a good thing?

    I grew up on Robert Heinlein and stuff like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel," and really, really love projects like Spaceship One, but this guy frightens me.
    • OK, let me get this right. Buddy wants to work with high explosives in his garage, and can't understand why the people in his neighbourhood might think that "red tape" like zoning, safety, and fire regulations might be a good thing?

      To the contrary, he said he was puzzled why the red tape covers a few grams of gunpowder, which is pretty much harmless, and not a few tons of liquid oxygen and kerosene, which is not harmless.

      • Its a lot easier to get the gunpoweder. I think that if someone actually started putting together the system required to store tons to liquid oxygen they would find that there are a lot of laws for that as well. Kerosene and other common fuels get of easy on the law because thy are used so commonly, but again I expect that if you put them to some unusual use there are regulations to follow.

        Basically though, anything that stores enough energy to get a significant payload into orbit has enough energy to do a

      • I don't know a damn thing about Danish law. But I find it really hard to believe that a liquid-fuel rocket, large enough to get a person into space, is completely legal and doesn't require any sort of permit or paperwork. That sort of backyard Second Amendment project would get you in trouble in Texas, never mind Europe.

        • I don't know a damn thing about Danish law. But I find it really hard to believe that a liquid-fuel rocket, large enough to get a person into space, is completely legal and doesn't require any sort of permit or paperwork.

          It's not.

          The whole thrust of the Outer Space Treaty is to put NGO's on a short leash in regards to space.

          In his case, he needs to get a lawyer and start the approval process at some point, hopefully well before he gets ready for a test launch.

          Because the PTB are NOT going to be happy t

      • by mbkennel (97636)
        "he said he was puzzled why the red tape covers a few grams of gunpowder, which is pretty much harmless, and not a few tons of liquid oxygen and kerosene, which is not harmless."

        Because empirically, gunpowder has been used by people to commit harm to others intentionally in various criminal ways.

        A few tons of LOX and kerosene is looking to have Darwin taking care of the problem.

        If people start making and using LOX + kerosene weapons sucessfully, then they'll be regulated.

        There is history and experience behi
      • To the contrary, he said he was puzzled why the red tape covers a few grams of gunpowder, which is pretty much harmless ...

        It seems that they are asking for a loophole around their country's firearms regulations, the "red tape" for small quantities of black powder may be nothing more than a firearms permit?

        A quick google shows that Denmark allows rifles and shotguns for hunting, a firearms permit is required. Such permits generally cover rifles. shotguns and their ammunition. Small quantities of black powder probably fall in the ammunition category, some people like to go old school and use black powder muskets.

        Note, blac

        • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Monday October 21, 2013 @10:50PM (#45196891) Homepage

          that doesn't mean a thing to rocket hobbyists here.

          As long as you are using it "for sporting, cultural or recreational purposes in antique firearms", you can purchase and possess up to 50 pounds of black powder, with no federal requirement as to proper storage, etc. 50 pounds of black powder is far more than enough to level a typical house, especially if it goes off in the basement.

          If you want to use a few grams of the stuff for rocketry purposes (igniters, squibs, parachute ejection charges, etc.), you need to get a Low Explosives Users Permit (LEUP) from the BATFE, consent to regular government inspections, and provide secured storage, in an approved magazine. You also need to have a large enough piece of property to keep that few grams of powder at least 75 feet from your neighbors, get local fire marshal/police/neighbors signoff, etc, before the LEUP is issued.

          Again, use it in a gun, do whatever you want more or less. Use it to deploy safety devices in a rocket, submit to a federal anal probe.

          Yes, there are ways around this BS (using pyrodex or smokeless powder rather than real black powder), but those come with additional technical issues, which may make safe rocket recovery more difficult than it needs to be.

        • Black powder is not an explosive it is purely a propellant. "Gun Powder" generally refers to smokeless powder which is basically nitrocellulose with a small amount of nitroglycerin (different ratios depending on double or triple base), so it is an actual no bullshit explosive.

          Either that or you mixed up your uses of latter and former.

        • Note, black powder and gun powder are not the same thing.

          Making shit up again. One of my friends, who was a historical reenactor, had to get a black powder certificate so he could use a musket. That's a kind of gun if you didn't know.

          Also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunpowder [wikipedia.org]

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            I live in California and I don't need anything like that.

            In fact, if you order a historical black powder firearm kit, it's not even considered a weapon, in spite of the fact that you can use it to kill a bear once assembled. Not until you put it together is it even a firearm — unlike the typical numbering and licensing requirements of anything with a rifled barrel.

      • by dbIII (701233)

        To the contrary, he said he was puzzled why the red tape covers a few grams of gunpowder, which is pretty much harmless, and not a few tons of liquid oxygen and kerosene, which is not harmless.

        Why? Let's go to the Simpsons for an example:
        Homer reads a ticket stub - "Ticket not to be taken internally".
        "They wrote that on there becuase of me" Homer states proudly.

        There's usually not tiny little rules covering every aspect of industrial chemistry because the operators are expected to act like adults. The US

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          There's usually not tiny little rules covering every aspect of industrial chemistry because the operators are expected to act like adults.

          Congratulations, you have completely missed the point. Willfully, I expect. There's no reason you can't have a law banning the posession of explosives powerful enough to level a city block, and then write in a couple of exemptions for stuff people actually have, like propane tanks and gas cans.

    • by rueger (210566)
      OK, I'll make allowances for poor English. Their web site [copenhagen...bitals.com] is actually pretty cool. Still remind me a bit too much of guys who like blowing stuff up for fun, and I'm not entirely convinced by "We have no administration or technical boards to approve our work, so we move very fast from idea to construction. Everything we build is tested until we believe it will do. Then we (attempt to) fly it!"
    • OK, let me get this right. Buddy wants to work with high explosives in his garage, and can't understand why the people in his neighbourhood might think that "red tape" like zoning, safety, and fire regulations might be a good thing? I grew up on Robert Heinlein and stuff like "Have Spacesuit, Will Travel," and really, really love projects like Spaceship One, but this guy frightens me.

      Attitudes like that are what shooed Robert Goddard out of New England.

      • by kamapuaa (555446)

        But of course unsettled desert in New Mexico was a better place to test-fire rockets than New England. Anyway Goddard was massively sponsored by the government and corporate interests at that point.

    • An even better example from Heinlein is Rocket Ship Galileo, the very first of his juveniles. Not only is it about some teenage boys converting a "mail rocket" into a space ship able to reach the moon (with help, of course, from an adult, Dr. Cargraves, Heinlein made sure that all of the ship's testing took place in a military weapons test range instead of in somebody's back yard, or farm.
  • I mean, if black powder is illegal, use something else that ignites easily, like gun cotton...
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Monday October 21, 2013 @08:22PM (#45195881) Journal

    Don't quote me on this... I don't know this for certain, but I would guess that this restriction is in there so that countries who may want to put stuff into space that they suspect others wouldn't like very much (use your imagination), they can't just say that some independent upstart in their country did it without government support, and they have no idea what was launched, since they will still be held directly responsible anyways.

    Of course, IANAL. But why the fuck are you asking this kind of question on slashdot anyways?

    • by xtal (49134)

      If you can get to LEO, you have constructed an ICBM.

      Why this may be a problem for state actors is left as an exercise to the reader.

      If you've made actual progress, well - props. Find someone with deep pockets (Musk; Branson, ?) to provide legal help and legitimacy. ..just be aware that actions have consequences.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Bull [wikipedia.org]

    • This is how they "stay under the radar". Smells like a publicity stunt.
  • Yup, they do a have a web site. [copenhagen...bitals.com] I guess what with the big Facebook outage the Slashdot eds couldn't track it down.
  • Why would lawyers be any different?

  • Yes you would need Danish permits. Even going to another country to do it might get you into trouble in Denmark. As their citizen you are their responsibility, and if you make everyone look like idiots by putting the entire world on Defcon 3 with a do-it-yourself launch they probably won't respond by appointing you Greve af Stjernerne. It won't matter if you do it from Mozambique or Copenhagen.

    As an American with an iffy grasp of American law I'm not a great authority on Danish space law. So if you think th

  • ianal, but...

    It just means that a State Party (government) is still responsible for the activities of organizations within their international jurisdiction. If someone in Alberta, CA manages to fire a rocket rocket into orbit without the knowledge of the Canadian government, for example, the government would still be considered liable for any damages done. Not to mention having not disclosed the launch in the first place, which could create a nice bit of tension when other countries see something randomly

    • by manu0601 (2221348)
      Sure government will be responsible before other governments that signed the treaty, but if they did not adjust their national laws, it is not obvious the individual that fires a rocket is liable of anything. A court will tell us...
  • There is no case law, which means they will have to go in court (sued by or suing the government), do learn what they can and cannot do. Save money for that time!
  • This has got to be the most bizarre Ask /. question I have ever seen posted.

    A Danish amateur space/rocketeer is looking for legal advice on a primarily American site. Wow. Is it April 1st already?

    • Are you kidding? The chances of this guy living through his attempt makes pink unicorns seem commonplace.

      • No, I think he has a reasonable chance of living through his attempt as you put it. You may note that the "Personnel" section of their web site [copenhagen...bitals.com] does not list any "Astronaut" and their Mission Statement [copenhagen...bitals.com] says in the 2nd paragraph:

        Our mission is to launch human beings into space on privately build rockets and spacecrafts.

        So for all we know there's a skid row somewhere in DK whose inhabitants will soon be riding high with promises of "lots of beer" onboard.

    • by Yoda222 (943886)
      He's seeking advice on an international treaty also, so he can find that here. But he probably need information about international law and danish law, and will probably not find anything about the latter in here.
  • We basically try to stay below the radar

    Well, somehow your geocities-like and wtf-player is that for video, you've managed to stave off any kind of /.'ing so far - you're doing something right!

    I say go for it, and don't ask the public about their opinions about something "below the radar" - suddenly, the wrong concerned citizen hears about it and now your government, wherever you are, really cares about it - get to space while you can!

  • good grief man, that stuff is unstable, don't use it. There are plenty of ways to ignite LOX and alchohol without explosives. some of the "big boys" use hydrogen and oxygen gases with electrical sparker.

  • Trouble Ahead (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:07PM (#45196197)

    I'm with everyone else - if your spacecraft project is just now figuring out that there is law regulating spaceflight, you are in deep trouble.

    I am a damn lawyer, but - I am not your damn lawyer and I have no experience in space law. Oh, and I don't know anything about non-US law.

    But, reading the treaty with a lawyer's eye - you have a problem.

    Article VI of the treaty says a couple of things you conveniently glossed over:
    "States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty. The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty. When activities are carried on in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, by an international organization, responsibility for compliance with this Treaty shall be borne both by the international organization and by the States Parties to the Treaty participating in such organization."

    Lets look at the first sentence: "States Parties to the Treaty shall bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, whether such activities are carried on by governmental agencies or by non-governmental entities, and for assuring that national activities are carried out in conformity with the provisions set forth in the present Treaty."

    I read the first sentence to mean:
    A) The nation in which you build your spacecraft "bears international responsibility" for what you do. So, if your spacecraft explodes above my house raining down toxic waste - your home country will have something to say about it. Because it has agreed to this treaty to be responsible.
    B) The nation in which you build your spacecraft has the right to regulate your operations to ensure compliance with the Treaty generally.

    Now, lets think about the second sentence: "The activities of non-governmental entities in outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party to the Treaty."

    The second sentence says pretty much the same sort of thing as the first sentence. A nation which has ratified the treaty has a duty under the treaty to make you comply with the Treaty and to supervise your space operations.

    The treaty is only part of your problem. In fact, the treaty isn't really your problem. Your homebrew spaceflight organization is not a party to the treaty. But - treaty or no, your home nation has the right to regulate spaceflight, just like it already regulates aircraft.

    If you nation has national law regulating spaceflight, you have to comply with that. I'd guess that even if your nation has no national law specifically aimed at spacecraft, it has law governing aircraft - you'd better worry about that too.

    Plus, in my home country of the US - the export (such as to a launch site in another country) of spacecraft is a dicey proposition - requiring careful compliance with law related to international arms trafficking. Screwing that up can land you in jail, or at the least on the receiving end of ruinous fines.

    So - yes. You'd jolly well better figure out what the law is and start complying with it. Otherwise the penalties for unlicensed possession of blackpowder will look mild in comparison.

    Do not assume that because your nation hasn't complained so far that you are OK. That is a fool's hope. If you were required to get a license to fly the thing, you are required to get a license to fly the thing. Even if your project has been all over the internet for years. You could easily end up with a spacecraft but no wa

  • by Animats (122034) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:09PM (#45196209) Homepage

    In the US, the regulations on "experimental" aircraft are quite lenient. [ecfr.gov] The main limitation is that you can't operate an experimental aircraft in a densely populated area or major airway without special permission. Permission is usually granted after successful flight tests.

    The main place for testing unusual civilian aircraft and rockets in the US is Mojave Air and Space Port. [mojaveairport.com] They're authorized as both a launch site and an airport. SpaceShip One, the Voyager, and the EZ-Rocket first flew there. There's plenty of room over the desert in case things go wrong.

    "You want to test a rocket engine? This is a place where you can do that." - Mojave Air and Space Port Board of Directors

    • by jbeaupre (752124)

      There are a couple other states that would even compete for the business. The one in New Mexico would probably welcome the publicity of people coming from Denmark to launch a prototype.

    • by Yoda222 (943886)
      But moving to the US has a drawback. You have to comply with ITAR.
  • My take on this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khallow (566160) on Monday October 21, 2013 @09:36PM (#45196361)
    Let's start by observing the inevitable. Large rocket launches even when they aren't orbital are heavily regulated. You can't escape it even if you're doing covert launches out of a third world wilderness. The Man gets real uptight over unauthorized rocket launches and that's that.

    I have indirect experience with US regulation for launching rockets and other things via my work for JP Aerospace [jpaerospace.com]. There are a bunch of things to consider here. First, regulators love a good track record. That means among other things you need to have a record of regulation-compliant launches before you try anything big or urgent.

    Doing that gives you cover in a number of ways. If they decide you did something wrong, you have the good faith defense that you did this way in the past few launches without incident.

    Similarly, if someone tries to block your activity via bogus regulatory or safety concern (the aerospace industry has long been notorious for using such techniques to harass competitors), then you have the means to contest these obstacles (by pointing out successful launches in the past). If you want to have access to multiple sites, you need a good track record for each site and its bureaucratic requirements. Finally, you can push the regulatory envelop and try (legally and safely of course) new technologies or techniques in order to establish a history for those.

    So a track record is good.

    Second, take this regulation seriously and come up with ways to do it efficiently rather than bypass it illegally. For example, US regulators want you to fill out every form. So no photocopying the old launch paperwork even though the new one is exactly the same. Learn the quirks of each process you have to do.

    I would also refrain from asking publicly about ways around regulation as you did above. That's huge fail right there should you end up in an audit or trial at some point.

    Third, treat such paperwork as a launch requirement. You have to have this paperwork at such and such stage before launch or it's "no go". You should have a really good idea how many man-hours it takes to fill out the forms for a give location and level of regulatory compliance.

    There's probably certain paperwork that some inspector can ask for that would nix your flight, if it comes up missing. Treat it like you would your rocket or your payload and never leave home without it and perhaps a copy or two.

    If you have regulatory obstacles to a particular technology, like your gunpowder igniter, you can either get a waiver for that (which is a whole lot easier to obtain IMHO with a good track record) or develop an alternate technology that bypasses the regulation. Just do it, don't risk your flight, program, and personal freedom on cutting that particular corner.

    Finally, you have some ability to shop around for launch sites. Always have backup sites scoped out in case you can't use the original site.

    To summarize, don't play games with this stuff, make it a part of your launch process every time, and good luck.
  • Move to a country not on that list.

  • what about land / mining rights to the moon, mars and outer stuff out there that may end in court.

  • by slew (2918)

    This is analogy. IANAL.

    A kid has a hobby. The hobby has the ability to cause millions of dollars of consequential damages.

    1) Is the parent responsible for the damage (if the kid doesn't have money or insurance to cover the potential damage)? Probably.

    2) Does practicing the hobby at a friends house or in a public park change this? Unlikely, but they might make some other folks additionally responsible.

    3) Does the kid have to ask for permission from the parents before practicing such a dangerous hobby? Onl

  • by jandersen (462034) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:38AM (#45197977)

    It is not just about the evil government trying to oppress the free, enterprising spirit of good, talented people. Any device that is likely to reach even a low orbit, will be heavy, especially if it is supposed to carry any payload - and why else sped time and money on doing it? It will have to carry a lot of highly explosive fuel, and it will probably produce a significant amount of pollutants as well. These factors are just some of the reasons why you are required to ask permission - it is actually not easy to steer a rocket, for one thing, and unless you are bloody clever, it will most likely fail, in which case you have a large, heavy object falling out of the sky, so whoever launches it has to be able to ensure that it doesn't fall on a populated area. And so on. I mean, if some fool decides to shave with a combine harvester, the damage is probably limited to himself, but if you lob tens of tons of exploding rocket onto a local school, "Oops, sorry" isn't going to cut it, I can tell you that.

  • The club i was part of in NZ was just legal. It wasn't really that hard to do. We had to form a club and get insurance. Once that was done we find some land that is at last 5km from any dwelling and at least 50km from a built up area. That is easy in NZ perhaps not so much in Europe. Once that was all signed and done we then get permission from the local air traffic controllers. Basically they close a 20-40km radius area to all aircraft for us on launch days but we still need to run by VFR and hence need cl
  • We basically try to stay below the radar at all time

    Then posing it to slashdot was not your smartest move

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