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US to review regulations to deal with rising space junk

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With Earth’s orbit increasingly crowded with satellites, a U.S. government agency said on Friday it would begin reviewing rules on space debris disposal and other issues such as satellite refueling and inspection. and repair of spacecraft in orbit.

“We believe the new space age needs new rules,” Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said after the decision, adding that the current rules “were mostly built for another era.” .

She said the FCC needs to “make sure our rules are prepared for the proliferation of in-orbit satellites and new activity at our higher altitudes.”

The FCC also plans to seek “new ways to clean up orbital debris. After all, there are thousands of cubic tons of junk in space,” added Jessica. The FCC will review “the potential for orbital debris removal and remediation functions that offer improved prospects for the orbital debris environment.”

The FCC is asking questions about maintenance, assembly and fabrication in space (Isam), which includes things like “fixing and refueling satellites and even assembling entirely new systems in orbit,” Rosenworcel said.

The process will look at efforts to transform materials through fabrication in space and the needs of the Isam spectrum.

“The FCC remains the only agency to license virtually all commercial space missions that reach the United States,” said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

“With that power comes the responsibility to understand the missions we authorize and to create a supportive regulatory environment that opens new doors and still protects against new risks.”

Starks said the procedure “will help us build the record we need to fully understand emerging Isam technologies, their spectrum requirements (and) the implications of debris.”

The FCC said that Isam has “the potential to build entire industries, create new jobs, mitigate climate change, and advance the economic, scientific, technological and national security interests of the United States.”

The FCC is already moving to update its satellite rules and has previously adopted new rules to help satellite launch companies gain access to spectrum for transmissions “from space launch vehicles during pre-launch testing and launch operations.” space”.

In November, the agency granted NanoRacks LLC an experimental license for communications with an experimental component attached to the second stage of a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle “to demonstrate metal cutting in space.”

(By David Shepardson)

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