KSC apparently has told its workers they’ll be fired for taking rocket photos

Enlarge / In 2011, media representatives vie for the best positions for their camera tripods at Press Site 1 near Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. NASA reader comments 36 with 26 posters participating, including story author Share this story Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit NASA appears…


People with cameras and tripods crowd a grassy field, all facing the same direction.
Enlarge/In 2011, media representatives vie for the best positions for their camera tripods at Press Site 1 near Space Launch Complex 17B on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
NASA

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36 with 26 posters participating, including story author

NASA appears to be clamping down on the public sharing of images and videos taken by its employees at Kennedy Space Center, a location known for its wealth of opportunities to photograph spacecraft under construction, as well as rocket tests and launches.

On Monday, a software engineer and amateur photographer at Kennedy Space Center named K. Scott Piel expressed his frustration with the new policy on Twitter, saying: “From this point forward, employees are no longer permitted to photograph or share images from *any* operations at KSC without authorization. Regardless of source. Photographing, or sharing images, from operations is grounds for termination. *Only* authorized media may do so.”

Whether these restrictions represent a new policy or the enforcement of an existing regulation is not clear. A woman who answered the media hotline at KSC asked for a screenshot of the tweet and seemed to be familiar with the issue, but she would not offer any substantive comment on the matter. She also said she was not sure whether the center’s press office would be commenting at all.

However, other sources familiar with employee photograph policies at the Florida center said these restrictions are almost certainly due to the release of an unauthorized video showing the explosion of SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft earlier this month. This video, which has been mostly scrubbed from the Web, was originally posted by the Twitter account Astronut099. This account evidently belongs to a NASA employee or contractor in Florida. It is not clear whether this person also captured the video.

An example of social sharing of unique spaceflight imagery.
An example of social sharing of unique spaceflight imagery.
Twitter

This issue has been simmering for some time with the rise of social media. Some Kennedy Space Center employees have been using their badges to gain access to areas the media doesn’t have. In some cases, these employees have taken unique photos of space hardware and posted them on social media. This led professional photographers to complain to officials at KSC that they did not have similar access.

Now, it seems that there will no longer be any such competition, unless space center employees want to lose their jobs.

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