FCC streamlines and cuts fees for smallsat licensing


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Capitalism in space: In an effort to ease its bureaucratic obstacles to private enterprise, the FCC has streamlined its licensing process for new smallsats, while cutting its licensing fees by more than 90%.

Under the optional licensing regime, which stands to take effect this year, smallsat operators with spacecraft that meet certain criteria will be able to obtain a spectrum license about twice as fast and pay only $30,000 instead of nearly $500,000. A maximum of 10 satellites at a time can be licensed under the streamline process.

…Operators will be able to use the streamlined licensing for satellites that weigh 180 kilograms or less, operate below 600 kilometers (or have propulsion) and will deorbit within six years, among other criteria.

One component of these new regulations is that they require new smallsats to never be smaller than 10 centimeters on their smallest dimension, thus essentially forbidding the launch of nanosats smaller than that.

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3 comments

  • Joe

    The new 10cm requirement derails a lot of my work. But I have a plan to correct the issue.

  • Col Beausabre

    10cm requirement….Due to limits of ground based radar and/or optical tracking equipment?

  • Edward

    Col Beausabre asked: “10cm requirement….Due to limits of ground based radar and/or optical tracking equipment?

    It is a radar requirement. The Air Force becomes less sure of tracking items that are smaller than 10cm.

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