Could I buy and use a space launch vehicle? What legal hurdles would there be?

GEO, LEO, or even quickie in-and-out. I’d prefer orbital, just so payload would have my sign “Hi Mom, I can see your house from here!” Call maximum payload five lbs. Either I’d buy entire vehicle from in stock, or, to help the economy and go with the latest technology, have one built from scratch.

And my cat is very sick, I might want to send his ashes up. More paperwork?

I’d pay for controlled de-orbit, and indemnify everything under the sun.

(MirCorp tried something similar, but times are different now.)

PS: I buy American.

Have you seen Billy Bob Thornton in The Astronaut Farmer?

You’d probably be much better off putting your payload on a micro satellite and hitching a ride on a launch of a commercial satellite. A good number of launches will carry additional cubesats that can be things like research projects from universities that weigh a few kilograms each, and can hitchhike their way into space for pretty low costs, like in the tens to maybe low six figures, depending on the rocket.

Wow. I did. And I thought of it when I read the OP. then I read your post.:eek:

But I don’t wanna! I want my initials and picture on everything possible! I want to let my freak flag fly!

Plus cost is no object. I’m rich.

For around $100 million you could launch a payload on your own Atlas V rocket. Whether you would own it or not I have no idea but I assume if you’re paying for the launch you could paint it with any logos and flags you wanted.

Arianne / proton etc have cheaper options but you said you wanted to buy US.

That’s pretty cheap for an Atlas.

There’s your Orbital Pegasus, which costs somewhere between $5 and $10 million. It is even air launched, which is cool. That’d be plenty of rocket for you.

If you can convince SpaceX to start making them again, a Falcon 1 would give you somewhere around 1,500 pounds to LEO for about $10 million. They weren’t the most reliable things, though.

There’s various sounding rockets that are more suborbital, which are probably closer to a million or two each, I’m not too sure on the exact prices.

Well, thanks to all for the prices, but that’s not my concern for this post. As I said, price is no object.

What I’m interested in is what are the national and international legal issues that I would have to resolve, and which ones would put a quick dead-stop to my goals, and, obviously, the corporate entities going about furthering them.

I have to get permits for some things, right?

Oh, and I am American, so am subject to their national laws.

Incidentally, many cubesats really are nothing more than a bunch of initials on everything and the like, plus a simple transponder. You can fit a science payload in one if you want to, but you don’t have to.

On the regulation issue, if nothing else, you’ll have to get clearance from the FAA. You might also need to do some paperwork with ATF or some similar agency: I’m not sure if rocket fuels are considered “explosives” or some such category of dangerous materials.

Really, it’s hard to tell, since historically, most space launches have been done in connection with some government agency or another (usually NASA or the Air Force), so there’s little precedent for completely private launches.

These guys, although they’ve suffered some technical setbacks lately, seem to have found it relatively easy to deal with the red tape as long as they do sea launches.

They’re strictly build-your-own, though. As for fuel/oxidizer, they use a solid epoxy/liquid oxygen combo, neither of which are regulated.

Here ( are the regulations for commercial space transportation of the FAA. I haven’t read it too closely, but you do apparent need a launch license and a license to operate a launch site.

Here are some of the requirements for filing for a launch license:

Russell Seitz did. In a classic example of “my post is my cite” I searched for this and found this Dope thread from CS on the idea.

Here is the link I quoted. He was Vice of MITSFS my freshman year, and he only came to one meeting I remember, but the people who had been there longer had first hand knowledge of his rocket. He had the additional position f “World’s Sixth Nuclear Power” thanks to the rocket, though to be honest he did not have a nuclear capability.

That I know of.