Eagerly Anticipated Small Satellite Rules Near Effective Date

July 17, 2020

After a year’s wait, the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s or Commission’s) small satellite (smallsat) Report and Order will take effect August 19, 2020 following Federal Register publication.

Adopted August 1, 2019, the new rules – summarized in full here – aim to limit the regulatory burdens placed on smallsat applicants, offer radiofrequency interference protection for critical communication links, and promote orbital debris mitigation and efficient use of spectrum.

The new, optional licensing process will add to, rather than replace, the existing satellite authorization processes laid out in parts 5, 25, and 97 of the Commission’s rules. Among other aspects, the smallsat rules adopt a lower application fee ($30,000), exempt qualifying applicants from the Commission’s current processing round procedures, and provide for a shorter review timeline than the currently applicable process.

If you have questions about FCC authorization for small satellites, please contact the Wiley attorney who regularly assists you with your FCC matters or one of the authors listed on this alert.

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