Tanja Masson-Zwaan & 
Christopher D. Johnson

Posting date:

March 18, 2024


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The October 2023 enforcement decision by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signifies a historical benchmark in the enforcement of space sustainability measures over private commercial space actors. Echostar-7, a commercial satellite launched in 2002 and operating at the Earth’s Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), provided direct broadcast telecommunications services to the US consumer market. Its operator, DISH Operating LLC failed to properly boost the spacecraft to a disposal ‘graveyard’ orbit above GEO as required as part of its governmental licence. An investigation by the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau resulted in a Consent Decree with Dish, whereby Dish accepted liability, agreed to pay a penalty fine of 150,000 USD, and agreed to submit and adhere to a compliance plan regarding the proper disposal of the Echostar-7 spacecraft.


Echostar, Enforcement, FCC, Federal Communications Commission, Space Debris, Space Sustainability


Tanja Masson-Zwaan, Christopher D. Johnson, 'Article: Echostar-7: The US Imposes First-Ever Fine for Failure to Comply with Deorbiting Plan', (2024), 49, Air and Space Law, Issue 2, pp. 243-248, https://kluwerlawonline.com/JournalArticle/Air+and+Space+Law/49.2%20[pre-publication]/AILA2024017

Last updated on March 20, 2024