Operators seeking to deploy small satellites may now request streamlined processing of their FCC satellite license applications. The new rules took effect on August 19, 2020, wrapping up the proceeding that commenced nearly two years ago.
The streamlined process reduces application fees from US$471,575 to US$30,000, condenses review periods to better accommodate the short timeline between a small satellite's design completion and launch, and offers a one-year grace period to post a surety bond. A streamlined processing applicant must, among other things,
- Request authority for fewer than 10 non-geostationary orbit satellites, each weighing no more than 180 kilograms.
- Operate the spacecraft on orbit no longer than six years.
- Use propulsive capabilities, if its space stations will deploy above an orbital altitude of 600 kilometers.
Creating this alternate licensing option will hopefully reduce administrative burdens for the FCC and applicants and further commercial development of space.
Authored by: Tony Lin and George John.