Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023
SpaceX Urges FCC to Implement New Rules for Satellite Application Processing

SpaceX has requested the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement new rules for processing satellite applications in order to expedite the development of its Starlink project. The company argues that small changes to the mass, size, and physical characteristics of satellites should not require formal applications, as they often reduce collision risk and bring benefits to consumers. SpaceX intends to upgrade its first-generation Starlink satellite constellation with improved hardware, and it believes that allowing operators to make improvements without formal modifications would strengthen space sustainability and enable rapid issue resolution.

The FCC is scheduled to vote on new rules for satellite application processing on September 21, and SpaceX supports the current proposal while advocating for further streamlining. The company suggests enforcing definitive deadlines, or “shot clocks,” for reviewing and taking action on satellite applications to prevent regulatory delays. SpaceX points out that the current backlog in satellite application processing has caused uncertainty for both large and small satellite operators, resulting in slower deployments of next-generation satellite systems, reduced innovation, and diminished competition.

The FCC has acknowledged the backlog of satellite applications, with more than 56,000 pending applications—a figure that has doubled in the past four years. In response, the FCC established a new Space Bureau in April to handle the increased volume of applications. In addition to the upcoming vote on new rules, the commission plans to consider further streamlining measures for satellite applications in the future.

Overall, SpaceX is requesting regulatory changes that will enable faster processing of satellite applications and facilitate the advancement of the Starlink project. The company believes that implementing these changes will have significant benefits for consumers and enhance American space leadership.