The new Federal Communications Commission regulations will be taking effect from next week. The regulations provide a simplified method for satellite operators to procure licenses for their operations. The FCC has been working on the new rules to ensure that they facilitate the registration of space vehicles so that launch activities can proceed without a hitch.
The FCC officials submitted the new regulations early last year to the congress. The congress will be evaluating the rules to filter out any irregularities before passing it to the Management office for data collection. The new rules are vital in availing a platform for commercial small satellite companies to receive licenses swiftly. Some of the critical notes in the regulations are article 25, which forms the primary process for swift license acquisition.
FCC’s lawyer, Merissa Velez, admits that the procedures articulated in the regulations will allow small satellite operators to infuse their advanced technology into their satellites. She added that the rules resulted from the annual conference of Small Satellite firms.
Small satellite systems catered for in these regulations are those whose compartments do not exceed ten orders and have fewer than 180 kilograms. Nonetheless, corporations can apply for inclusion in the rules if they have more than ten capsules, a condition that attracts charges.
The new rules provide that a spacecraft will operate in space for a maximum of six years, after which it will leave its orbit. The shuttle must also work within 600 kilometers beyond which they are in breach of rules. Additionally, every satellite must have a minimum of 10 centimeters for its miniature aspects and have a marker or distinctive markings to help locate it when it encounters space debris.
The satellites that meet these regulations will receive discounts on their registration charges. Currently, corporations spend up to $400000 and above in the legislation processes. The new rules will reduce this fee to about $30000, provided the satellite operators are within the range of the outlined regulations.
The high payments in the current regulations are because of the exploratory missions. The new rules will help businesses venture innovations and engineering activities on their satellites since the laws will favor them. Velez stated that those eligible for the regulations would have to pay subscription fees after they could freely operate.
To conclude, the FCC and the satellite licensing board anticipate more satellite operators to apply for licensing, especially the new entrants. One of the officials added that the door is now open for the smallsat startups that were afraid of entering the space industry due to high upfront costs.