At the tail end of 2022, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) seeking comment on proposals to streamline the processing of satellite and Earth station applications under Part 25 of its rules. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel explained that “the new space age needs new rules,” given the growing space economy, and that the public and private sectors will need to collaborate better.
Innovations in the space industry, from low Earth orbit (LEO) constellations to developments in in-space servicing and manufacturing (ISAM), have led to an influx of satellite and gateway Earth station applications in recent years. The impact? Greater demand on the agency’s resources and longer and less predictable wait times for its review and grant of applications. In fact, the rapid rise in the number of satellites being launched, coupled with the novelty and complexity of many of the new systems and spacecraft, caused Rosenworcel to announce plans to create a Space Bureau at the agency.