Jessica Rosenworcel, performing chairwoman of the FCC, stated in a March 31 assertion that the fee would come with on the agenda of its subsequent open assembly April 21 a proposed rule to grant a secondary allocation of S-band spectrum, at present reserved for presidency makes use of, for telemetry for industrial launches.
That band, between 2,200 and a pair of,290 megahertz, is used in the present day for industrial launches, however launch operators have to use for a “particular momentary authority” (STA) with the FCC to make use of that spectrum for every launch, usually months prematurely. For instance, small launch car developer Astra filed an STA application with the FCC March 30 for its subsequent orbital launch try, scheduled for no sooner than Aug. 1, in search of use of the band for launch telemetry.
In her assertion, Rosenworcel famous the surge in industrial launch exercise lately. “Nevertheless, regardless of the revolutionary exercise in our environment, the regulatory frameworks we depend on to assist these efforts are dated,” she stated. “With in the present day’s proposal, the U.S. is main the way in which in growing predictable and clear guidelines to assist this rising business.”
The FCC’s transfer to take up the proposed rule is welcomed by business teams just like the Industrial Spaceflight Federation. “CSF and its members have a protracted historical past of engaged on this difficulty, and we’re inspired by the FCC’s announcement in the present day,” Karina Drees, president of the CSF, instructed SpaceNews. “We stay up for persevering with to work with the FCC to advance a immediate and acceptable answer.”
The band in query is at present reserved for presidency makes use of, together with spacecraft and launch telemetry. In 2013, the FCC published a notice of proposed rulemaking, proposing choices to permit use of the band for industrial launches. It famous that the band is “closely used” by the federal authorities, elevating questions on whether or not industrial launches might be accommodated there given “the anticipated progress of the industrial launch sector.”
That proposal, although, languished for years. In 2019, Eric Stallmer, on the time president of CSF, requested the FCC to once more take up the matter as that long-expected progress in industrial launch exercise lastly materialized. “With a view to improve coordination, cut back paperwork, and get rid of bureaucratic inefficiencies, it’s time for the Fee to maneuver ahead with a streamlined, predictable spectrum licensing course of that authorizes a typical band of spectrum for industrial house launch and reentry,” he wrote.
In November 2020, a consortium of 5 corporations — Blue Origin, Relativity House, Sierra Nevada Company, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit — contacted the FCC with its set of “consensus industry principles” for launch and reentry spectrum. Along with requesting spectrum allocations for industrial launches, they proposed streamlining coordination with different customers of the spectrum in addition to automating the “outdated handbook course of” for acquiring STAs.
Drees, in a Feb. four letter to the FCC, endorsed these rules as a manner of avoiding bottlenecks in general launch laws. “The present licensing course of shouldn’t be structured to adequately assist ongoing business exercise not to mention its predicted progress, and it’s burdensome to each the Authorities and its personal sector companions,” she wrote.
The industrial launch spectrum allocation is the one space-related subject on the agenda for the April 21 commission meeting that Rosenworcel launched March 31.