FCC to revise rules on getting rid of space junk

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FCC to revise rules on getting rid of space junk

With Earth's orbit getting more crowded with satellites, a U.S. government agency on Friday said it would revise decades-old rules on getting rid of space junk and other issues such as satellite refueling and inspecting and repairing in-orbit spacecraft.

After the 4 - 0 FCC vote, Jessica Rosenworcel said that the Federal Communications Commission's FCC Chairwoman believes that the new space age needs new rules. She said the FCC needs to make sure our rules are prepared for the proliferation of satellites in orbit and new activities in our higher altitudes. The FCC plans to look at new ways to clean up orbital debris. There are thousands of metric tons of junk in space, according to Rosenworcel. The FCC will look at the potential for orbital debris remediation and removal functions that offer orbital debris remediation and removal functions.

The prospect of improvement in the orbital debris environment is something we are talking about. The FCC is asking questions about in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing ISAM, which includes things like repairing and refueling satellites, and even assembling whole new systems in orbit, Rosenworcel said.

The proceeding will look at efforts to transform materials through manufacturing while also looking at space and ISAM spectrum needs.

The FCC is the only agency to license virtually every commercial space mission that touches the United States, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks said. With that power comes the responsibility to understand the missions we authorize, and to create an enabling regulatory environment that opens new doors while protecting against new risks. Starks said that proceeding will help us build the record we need to understand emerging ISAM technologies, their spectrum requirements and their debris implications. The FCC said ISAM can be used to create new jobs, mitigate climate change, and advance America's economic, scientific, technological and national security interests. The FCC is moving to update its satellite rules and have previously adopted new rules to help satellite launch companies get access to spectrum for transmissions from space launch vehicles during pre-launch testing and space launch testing.

In November of this year, the FCC granted an experimental license to NanoRacks LLC for communications with an experimental component attached to the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch.

The FCC said the proceeding would play a role in reviewing planetary protection plans and implications for missions.