Exclusives : FCC to Consider Changes to its Satellite Application Processing

FCC to Consider Changes to its Satellite Application Processing

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will consider changes to the current process for satellite applications.

On December 21, the agency will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeking comment on changes to its rules, policies, or practices to facilitate the acceptance for filing of satellite and earth station applications. According to the tentative agenda released by the FCC, the idea is “to help Commission processing stay apace with the number of innovative satellite applications in the new space age.”

The world has indeed been witnessing an upsurge in satellite launches driven especially by American companies like SpaceX. According to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, there were 7,220 satellites orbiting Earth, 6,376 of which were registered with the UN, as of March 2022.

In December, the FCC announced it granted SpaceX authority to construct, deploy, and operate up to 7,500 satellites operating at altitudes of 525, 530, and 535 km using frequencies in the Ku- and Ka-band. The agency also allowed the company to conduct launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) operations and testing during orbit-raising, as well as tracking, telemetry and command (TT&C) during the process of removing its satellites from orbit.

Still, SpaceX’s demand have not been entirely accepted. “Our action today does not increase the total number of satellites SpaceX is authorized to deploy, and in fact slightly reduces it, as compared to the total number of satellites SpaceX would potentially have deployed otherwise,” the agency said in a public document. SpaceX has filed a request to operate almost 30,000 satellites.




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