Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

FCC is accusing startup for launching satellites without permission

FCC is accusing startup for launching satellites without permission

USA regulators have accused a small Silicon Valley startup of launching satellites without permission.

The Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) earth observation satellite CARTOSAT -2, onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C40) along with 28 satellites from six foreign countries including the U.S., France, Finland, South and Canada, launches at Satish dawan space center in Sriharikota in the state of Andhra Pradesh on January 12. But according to IEEE Spectrum, the consequences of the rogue launch could prove to be severe.

It is likely the first time a private organization has launched spacecraft without the explicit approval of any government. If the SSN can't track it, it poses a collision hazard to other spacecraft in orbit. At only 10 centimetres across and 2.8 centimetres tall, they are too small to reliably track, making it hard to be certain they won't crash into other satellites.

Los Altos-based Swarm Technologies is now headed by Canadian Sara Spangelo, who was employed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory before moving to work for Google X-which devises concepts for spacecraft-in the role of systems engineer.

The company says it can slash the cost of enabling satellite communications for billions of connected devices.

Ex-S.Korean president questioned over corruption charges
Before his questioning began, Lee stood before throngs of reporters and apologized to the public for causing concern. Should he be arrested, he would be the second former president behind bars on corruption charges.

"The International Bureau requested that the [application] be set aside in order to permit assessment of the impact of the applicant's apparent unauthorized launch and operation of four satellites, and related statements and representations, on its qualifications to be a Commission licensee", FCC said in a letter to the company revoking the authorisation.

According to US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, laid out in a letter to Swarm Technologies CEO Sara Spangelo on December 12, a satellite must measure at least 10 centimetres on all sides so that it can be detected by the US Space Surveillance Network (SSN).

An FCC spokesman said the agency is "aware of the situation" with Swarm Technologies, but wouldn't comment further about whether any enforcement action will be taken against the company.

Several other companies, such as SpaceX and OneWeb, also want to use hundreds of small satellites to provide connectivity for internet of things devices.

Like this: