Coalition’s first action is to endorse Inhofe-Reed legislation forcing Ligado to provide financial relief to consumers, industries and other end users
WASHINGTON (June 23)—Five organizations representing thousands of companies and millions of Americans have launched a new coalition to protect end users of GPS following the Federal Communications Commission’s April 22 decision to permit Ligado Networks to operate a terrestrial wireless network using its satellite spectrum.
Ligado’s planned use of its so called “L-Band”spectrum, which is closely adjacent to bands used by GPS, would threaten the reception capability of hundreds of millions of GPS devices.
Firefly Aerospace has applied for a permit from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a launch of its Alpha booster on Sept. 6-7 from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California.
“Once the launch vehicle reaches the mission altitude of 300 km, it will deploy commercial payloads into orbit. “The second stage will complete one full orbit while it downlinks data to VAFB and KSAT ground station locations in Hawaii, Mauritius, and South Africa,” the company said in its application.
Firefly has not yet launched the Alpha booster, which is designed to orbit small satellites.
Contracts in place with U.S. manufacturers Maxar Technologies and Northrop Grumman
McLean, Va. (Intelsat PR) – Intelsat, operator of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial network, today announced that it has contracted for new satellites with U.S. manufacturers, a necessary step to meet the accelerated C-band spectrum clearing timelines established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) earlier this year.
Intelsat has entered into two new agreements; one with Maxar Technologies to build and deliver four satellites, and another with Northrop Grumman to build and deliver two satellites. Intelsat is currently in negotiations with manufacturers for a seventh satellite required to support its C-band transition.
WASHINGTON (FCC PR) — The Federal Communications Commission today adopted procedures for Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (Auction 904), which will award up to $16 billion in support over 10 years for the deployment of fixed broadband networks to millions of unserved homes and businesses across rural America.
The $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the FCC’s most ambitious step ever toward bridging the digital divide. It prioritizes bids for higher speed—up to 1 Gbps—and lower latency networks, and more than doubles the minimum speed from the FCC’s 2018 Connect America Phase II auction to 25/3 Mbps.
LONDON, UK, May 27, 2020 (OneWeb PR) – OneWeb, the global communications company with a mission to connect governments, businesses and people everywhere, submitted a modification request to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase the number of satellites in its constellation up to 48,000 satellites. This larger OneWeb constellation will allow for greater flexibility to meet soaring global connectivity demands.
The Trump Administration has formally requested that the Federal Communications Commission reconsider its approval to Ligado to construct a nationwide mobile broadband network that it says “will cause irreparable harms to federal government users of the Global Positioning System (GPS).”
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) filed the appeal to rescind the approval on behalf of the Trump Administration, particularly the departments of Defense (DOD) and Transportation (DOT).
The Department of Defense plans to appeal the Federal Communications Commission’s approval of a plan by Ligado to establish a cellular network that military officials believe will interfere with signals from the Global Positioning System (GPS).
“One avenue could be legislative action,” Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy told reporters May 6 following a lengthy Senate Armed Services Committee hearing where he testified along with other Pentagon officials.
Another channel to try to get the decision reversed would be to petition to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said Deasy. The NTIA is an interagency organization that oversees the government’s spectrum policies.
The deadline for the Pentagon to file an appeal is May 29….
“We were surprised,” said Deasy. DoD for years was able to work through tough contentious issues with the FCC, he said, but on this one the process broke down.
In approving the application, FCC commissioners said restrictions placed on Ligado’s 5G cellular network would prevent interference with signals from the GPS satellite navigation system.
In the order approving Ligado’s application, the Commission included stringent conditions to ensure that incumbents would not experience harmful interference. For example, the Commission mandated that Ligado provide a significant (23 megahertz) guard-band using its own licensed spectrum to separate its terrestrial base station transmissions from neighboring operations in the Radionavigation-Satellite Service allocation. Moreover, Ligado is required to limit the power levels of its base stations to 9.8 dBW, a reduction of 99.3% from the power levels proposed in Ligado’s 2015 application.
The order also requires Ligado to protect adjacent band incumbents by reporting its base station locations and technical operating parameters to potentially affected government and industry stakeholders prior to commencing operations, continuously monitoring the transmit power of its base station sites, and complying with procedures and actions for responding to credible reports of interference, including rapid shutdown of operations where warranted.
WASHINGTON (House Science Committee PR) – House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas and Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson released a statement today on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote on new regulations for orbital space debris.
“As we said in our letter to the FCC last week, regulatory action at this time, without consensus across federal agencies and clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in space,” Lucas and Johnson wrote. “Despite a host of concerns raised by this Committee, other federal agencies, and industry stakeholders, the FCC moved forward. This rulemaking process alone is problematic. During a global pandemic and unprecedented public health and economic challenges, the decision to take action on a significant regulatory change is unnecessary and ill-advised. As the Commission proceeds, we expect them to work with our Committee and all relevant federal agencies on an appropriate policy framework for orbital debris.”
WASHINGTON, April 23, 2020 (FCC PR) —The Federal Communications Commission today comprehensively updated its satellite rules on orbital debris mitigation for the first time in over 15 years.
The Commission also voted to seek further public comment on other proposals related to mitigating orbital debris. Orbital debris, also known as space debris, can pose a risk to satellites and inhabitable spacecraft, and in some instances, pieces of debris falling back to earth can pose a risk to persons and property on the surface of the earth.
Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, IB Docket No. 18-313 Proposed Rules (119 Pages)
Background: Since 2004, when the Commission first adopted rules regarding orbital debris mitigation for Commission-authorized satellites, there have been a number of developments in technologies and business models that pose new or additional orbital debris risks. These developments include the increasing deployment of lower-cost small satellites and of large constellations of non-geostationary satellite orbit systems, some potentially involving thousands of satellites.
Three leaders of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have called upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay action on new orbital debris mitigation rules planned for Thursday.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on U.S. industry and international competitiveness at a critical period in our nation’s history, we hope that you will agree to postpone future action,” the letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai read.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (Swarm Technologies PR) — We are thrilled to announce that Swarm is now fully licensed to launch our commercial offering. Having received all regulatory approvals to operate commercially in the US, in several other countries, and over international waters, we are one step closer to providing affordable satellite connectivity to the world.
SpaceX has submitted an application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for communications frequencies to fly its Starship vehicle to an altitude of 20 km (12.4 miles) at its Boca Chica Beach facility in Texas.
The approval would allow for communications between the vehicle and the ground. The proposed six-month time frame for the flight is from March 16 to Sept. 16, 2020.
Starship is a prototype of an orbital vehicle that Elon Musk’s company is developing for missions in Earth orbit and to the moon and Mars. SpaceX also hopes to use it for rapid point-to-point transportation between distant cities on earth.
The Australian government has approved SpaceX, Swarm Technologies and Kepler Communications for inclusion on a list of foreign companies allowed to seek approvals to provide communications services in the country.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a license to Swarm Technologies to operate a non-voice communications satellite constellation composed of 150 satellites smaller than an 1U CubeSat.
“Over 20 entities filed letters in support of granting Swarm’s application. These entities plan to utilize Swarm’s network to provide a variety of communications services in support of agribusiness, transportation, and academic and scientific research,” the FCC said in its memorandum approving the application.