Thursday, September 15, 2022

Rosenworcel Proposes New Rules to Address Growing Risk of Space Debris

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
The FCC wants to tackle space junk. But you can’t just put a satellite whose job is completed in a recycle bin.

Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel circulated for a vote among her colleagues new rules that would require satellite operators in low-Earth orbit to dispose of their satellites within five years of completing their missions. If adopted by the full Commission at its September monthly meeting, the new rules would shorten the existing 25-year guideline for deorbiting satellites after they stop functioning.

“Since 1957 humanity has put thousands of satellites into the sky, often with the understanding that they were cheaper to abandon than take out of orbit,” she said. “These satellites can stay in orbit for decades, careening around our increasingly crowded skies as space junk and raising the risk of collisions that can ruin satellites we count on.” Continue Reading

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