FCC Makes History By Launching Its First Fine That’s Designed To Combat Space Debris Concerns

The FCC has just made history by rolling out a new fine that’s designed to prevent satellite space debris from reentering the Earth's atmosphere.

The regulatory agency is not making top firm Dish Network happy by forcing them to pay a staggering $150k. This comes after it was accused of a failing attempt of its satellites to deorbit one of the outlined broadcasts in 2022.

The company was actually supposed to allow the retired satellite called EchoStar-7 to enter a disposal orbit. In reality, it was seen flying so low that was below the designated elevation laid out on the license. In the end, it led to huge concerns related to orbit debris accumulation.

In February of last year, the company revealed how it wanted this satellite to follow the requirements set out but it just could not because there was not a lot of propellant left for it to carry out the task efficiently. Hence, it had to abort plans that were in place for mitigating space debris found in the license it obtained.

Dish ended up retiring this satellite at a shocking 122km disposal orbit figure that’s further from the geostationary requirements outlined. Similarly, it was short by nearly 300 km which was the original part of the plan.

To get a better perspective of this, the satellite did manage to travel at the geostationary orbit, and that put it nearly 36k away from Earth. As you can imagine, it’s much higher than the usual Starlink satellite that continues to orbit low.

Therefore, this EchoStar-7 needed to get nearer to several orbits in operation of nearby geostationary satellites which the FCC would have preferred. But clearly, that did not happen.

To make things clear, this fine was not only hinted in the direction of Dish Network. We know about more American regulators that are issuing signals on the matter and how they’re ready to crack down against such behavior regarding satellite constellations not following rules that are necessary.

And in today’s day and age where satellites continue to be more commonly used with the space economy doing so well, experts at the FCC feel it’s necessary for operators to comply with such rules.

This is guaranteed to bring forward a long list of scrutiny for others including Elon Musk’s Starlink which is a constellation that beams at intense internet speed for those people working on the ground. Moreover, the system is outlined to span a whopping 4800 functional satellites that have already raised plenty of concerns about how they are making radio interferences, producing hazardous debris, and also causing an uproar in terms of astronomical sightings.

But with that comes a very interesting point linked to how SpaceX created its Starlink satellites in a manner that could be moved with ease. This would ward off any kind of collision that could potentially take place with other satellites and even space junk.

Moreover, such satellites are even created to blow up our planet’s atmosphere after they retire. That leads us to another investigation being done by authorities linked to whether the satellites from Starlink can withstand the impact of atmospheric reentry. Hence, if that’s the case, the threat is great to the general public and obviously hazardous to human life.

Each year, the figure for hazardous fragments re-entering the planet’s atmosphere continues to peak and that again is of mega concern to regulating agencies. Right now, the figure outlined through stats is that such dangerous fragments can kill or cause harm to 0.6 individuals every year.

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