SWF Staff Argue in Favor of new FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Rules

Monday, April 20, 2020

Three SWF staff members - Mr. Ian Christensen, Director of Private Sector Programs; Dr. Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning; and Mr. Josh Wolny, SWF Project Manager; have co-written a new article supporting the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposed new rules for orbital debris mitigation. The authors conclude that while having the FCC play a role in orbital debris mitigation is not ideal, the new rules are a meaningful steps forward to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities,

The authors explain the 18-month long process that led to the decision, why the FCC has a role in orbital debris mitigation, and the major changes in the new rules. The authors discuss why the new rules are largely in line with industry best practices and, while not being perfect, would help mitigate the risks posed by the long-term growth in orbital debris. The authors conclude by urging Congress to work with the White House on improving the framework for oversight of commercial space activities by identifying a lead federal agency has the authority to lead a whole-of-government effort for holistic space environmental management that is coupled to improved civil SSA data and analysis. 

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Last updated on April 21, 2020