FCC Passes New Satellite Deorbiting Rule Written 30 September 2022


Artist's depiction of SmallSat Technology. | NASA

CNN reports the Federal Communications Commission passed a new rule which forces unused satellites to be deorbited after five years of their mission ending. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, “Twenty-five years is a long time. There is no reason to wait that long anymore, especially in low-Earth orbit.” Rosenworcel said over half of the satellites sent into orbit are now considered space junk. A released FCC document from earlier in September said, “At risk is more than the $279 billion-a-year satellite and launch industries and the jobs that depend on them. Left unchecked, orbital debris could block all of these benefits and reduce opportunities across nearly every sector of our economy.”
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