Rosenworcel Introduces New Spectrum Rules for Commercial Space Launches

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared with her colleagues final rules to ensure spectrum certainty for communications used during commercial space launches. She urged them to vote for the rules. As private companies have assumed a vital role in the launch and operation of space satellites, scientific exploration, and transportation of astronauts both for public and commercial purposes, they need access to reliable and predictable wireless communications services, says the FCC. If adopted, the new rules would make those available.

“The next-generation Space Age is already here. We are seeing more commercial space activity at the agency than ever before, and our overall approach as the designated commercial spectrum regulator must reflect that reality,” said Rosenworcel. “These rules will ensure commercial space launches have the necessary spectrum resources for reliable communications no matter their mission.” 

Rosenworcel said the updates will promote economic strength, safety, competitiveness, and innovation. She urged the other Commissioners to vote for them.

The rules would adopt a new allocation in the 2025 to 2110 MHz band for space operations on a secondary basis. They would also expand the spectrum available for commercial space operations on a secondary basis in the 2200 to 2290 MHz band from four channels to the entire band.

They would adopt licensing and technical rules for space launch operations and seek public input on expanded federal use of the non-federal satellite bands. They would also amend the allocation for the 399.9 to 400.05 MHz band to permit the deployment of federal space stations.

The agency sought input from NASA, DoD, and industry. As part of the space innovation agenda, the Commission established its new Space Bureau and took action to speed up regulatory review processes, Inside Towers reported. It increased the number of staff working on satellite applications, created new opportunities for competition in the delivery of satellite broadband services, and modernized spectrum policy to better meet the needs of the next generation Space Age. The agency has also taken action to advance space safety and responsibility, including by adopting new rules for deorbiting satellites to more quickly address orbital debris.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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