Today, the FCC will vote on an order reallocating spectrum for commercial space launches. Currently, every company seeking to conduct commercial launch operations (and the cadence is increasing exponentially), must apply for Special Temporary Authority (STA) from the FCC to use the industry-standard 2200-2900 MHz band.
“The FCC has finally taken a huge step in playing ‘catch up’ with the realities of spaceflight,” said James E. Dunstan, TechFreedom’s General Counsel. “This issue has languished at the FCC since 2013, and has cost the commercial spaceflight sector countless time and expense filing repetitive STA requests. The days of government-run and government-dominated space launches are over, and the Order sets proper standards for allowing commercial operators access to vital spectrum assets.”
“Yet the working draft still gets it wrong when it says that ‘the United States is poised to be a world leader in space exploration and commercialization.’ The United States is the world leader in commercial launches.” Dunstan continued. “The real impediments to strengthening that lead have little to do with ‘rocket science,’ and everything to do with government inertia to changing its regulatory approach to space launch. Today marks a major step forward in that regard.”
“The accompanying Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is equally important, as it forces the FCC to reexamine other spectrum allocations, made when only governments had the resources to launch payloads to space,” Dunstan concluded. “TechFreedom looks forward to participating vigorously in this debate, as our lawyers have for decades, recognizing the value of the commercial sector, and the need to streamline regulatory burdens in order to create a robust space economy, with U.S. industry in the lead.”
Read our related work, including:
- Jim Dunstan’s 1997 piece, “Earth to Space: I Can’t Hear You — Selling Off Our Future To The Highest Bidder,” highlighting FCC efforts to take spectrum away from space users.
- “The FCC and Spectrum Policy: Sometimes It Hz So Bad,” Townhall.com, November 16, 2020.
- “Artemis Accords: One Small Step for NASA, Not So Giant a Leap for Space Law.”
- Tech Policy Podcast #13: Space Law!
- Tech Policy Podcast #28: Space Law (Part 2) Property Rights in Space.
- Tech Policy Podcast #33: Space Law (Part 3) Mining in Space.