During SpaceX’s live stream of its latest Falcon 9 launch this morning, there was a lot of confusion (and still is) about why the Iridium-5 stream cut off early. Right before the stream cut off, SpaceX mentioned that NOAA had restricted their ability to live stream the second stage. Now everyone is wondering why, Google searches about the NOAA and SpaceX are surging, and people are taking to Twitter to wonder just what’s going on, and create some funny memes while they wait. But curiously, NOAA doesn’t seem to know either. They’ve officially said that they are looking into what happened and will let everyone know soon once they figure it out. Here’s what happened and what we know so far.
Loren Gush, a science reporter from the Verge, tweeted that an NOAA representative she talked to had no idea what was going on.
Eric Berger, senior space editor for Ars Technica, found that his questions were also met with confusion.
SpaceX, meanwhile, says the restrictions are definitely put into place by the NOAA.
But, he added, nothing nefarious is likely going on:
NOAA still insisted it wasn’t them.
William Harwood of CBS News also came up empty in his quest:
So at the moment, we don’t have an answer as to why the NOAA restricted SpaceX’s live coverage of the launch and satellite deployment. NOAA representatives have said they don’t know anything about this restriction, and they’re going to follow up on it. SpaceX is referring journalists back to what they said during the webcast.
The guesses about what happened are all over the place, from a miscommunication to SpaceX not having a Commercial Remote Sensing License (issued by the NOAA) for streaming second stage imagery. (A list of licenses are here, and one of SpaceX’s licenses is here.) But it may be a while before we know for certain what happened.
NOAA Communications also tweeted that they are looking into what happened and will share more once they know:
Now the whole thing is turning into a joke on Twitter.
While we wait for answers, here are some beautiful photos from the launch:
What do you think happened? Is there a secret payload, aliens, or just a miscommunication? Let us know in the comments below.