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FCC approves new regulation requiring defunct satellite deorbit in five years

Despite questions from Congress and others about the agency’s legal authority to do so, the FCC yesterday approved a new regulation that will require satellite companies to de-orbit defunct satellites within five years, shortening the rule from the previous requirement of 25 years.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to adopt the draft rule, published earlier this month, intended to address growing debris in LEO. Under the new rule, spacecraft that end their lives in orbits at altitudes of 2,000 kilometers or below will have to deorbit as soon as practicable and no more than five years after the end of their mission. The rule would apply to satellites launched two years after the order is adopted, and include both U.S.-licensed satellites as well as those licensed by other jurisdictions but seeking U.S. market access.

The article notes how this rule replaces “a longstanding FCC guideline” Note the difference. Previously the FCC had made a recommendation, recognizing it did not have the authority to impose it. Now, our power-hungry DC bureaucracy has decided it can ignore the law and impose any rule it desires. Nor does it feel it needs to listen to Congress, one committee of which sent a stern letter recently questioning the then proposed new rule and calling for the FCC to hold off any action on it while elected officials review the situation.

The FCC yesterday responded, essentially telling Congress to bug off.

None of these questions have anything to do with whether this rule makes sense. It likely does, but that still doesn’t give FCC officials to right to arbitrarily give themselves more power. Whether our elected officials will act to defend their own power is uncertain, as the pattern in the past half century is for Congress to consistently cede its power to the bureaucracy, whenever challenged.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

4 comments

  • Ray Van Dune

    The FCC is positioning itself to be the Czar of Information Control.

  • When it comes to how the entities of government conduct themselves, process matters. A good idea does not justify its expedient application via the violation of separation of power/authority, and/or the use of compromised processes by government operatives.

    Be it in orbit, or at the ballot box.

  • Col Beausabre

    I hope somebody “violates” this ukase so the case ca n be thrashed out in court

  • Ryan Lawson

    If anything they should park it in a higher orbit so the precious metals and components can be recycled in the future saving a fortune in launch costs.

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