Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work, as I take no advertisements nor accept any sponsors in order to keep the website clean, easy to read, and to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest. Your support leaves me entirely independent, able to say whatever I think while being free from censorship or reprisals.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

FCC fines Dish for failing to put a geosynchronous satellite in its proper graveyard orbit

The FCC on October 2, 2023 announced it is fining Dish Network $150K for failing to raise the orbit of one of its dying geosynchronous satellites so that it was in a proper graveyard orbit and out of the way.

The settlement includes an admission of liability from Dish for leaving EchoStar-7 at 122 kilometers above its operational geostationary arc, less than halfway to where the satellite broadcaster had agreed. EchoStar-7 could pose orbital debris concerns at this lower altitude, the FCC warned.

The regulator said it approved a plan from Dish in 2012 to move the satellite at the end of its mission 300 kilometers above geostationary orbit, which is about 35,786 kilometers above the Earth. Dish had estimated it would need to start moving the satellite in May 2022 to ensure it had enough fuel for the trip after two decades in orbit — but just three months ahead of the planned move the company found insufficient propellant remaining.

It is routine for satellite companies to raise the orbits of their geosynchonous satellites when their lifespan is over in order to make room for future satellites. This higher orbit, long dubbed a graveyard orbit, is presently filled with many past satellites no longer in use (though the refueling and reusing of some is now taking place).

What makes this story different is the fine. The FCC has claimed it has the right to regulate the de-orbiting plans for all satellites, even though its statutory authority does not include that right. This fine is the first since the agency made that claim. That Dish settled rather than fight was likely a decision by managment to choose the lesser evil. Even though the courts would likely cancel the fine, the fight would cost as much as the fine, and there is a chance Dish would lose. As the saying goes, better to pay the two dollars than end up in jail.

As a result, this government agency has now established a precedent whereby it can regulate and even fine private companies for not doing what it dictates when it comes to decommissioning satellites, even though no law was ever passed giving it that power. And the FCC agrees.

“This is a breakthrough settlement,” FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Loyaan Egal said in a statement, “making very clear the FCC has strong enforcement authority and capability to enforce its vitally important space debris rules.”

The unelected administrative state continues its unstoppable growth in power.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Convenience is the death of freedom.

  • Jay

    I don’t much care for Dish, but this made me think of maritime law. I know cruise companies flag their vessels to get around taxes and other rules. What if the satellites are flagged for a different nation? Kind of like those “Border Blaster” stations in Mexico that used to transmit 1MW of Wolfman-Jack.

  • pzatchok

    We need a Federal Space administration.

    Yes I know its just more government everything but it could take all the rules from the FAA and FCC and leave those groups just to cover what they were originally intended to cover.
    The FAA covers everything inside the atmosphere and the FCC covers just the radio spectrum.

    This could and should stop those other agencies from over reaching for more power.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *