FCC Charges Space Startup Company Citing Illegal Deployment of Tiny Satellites


Swarm Technologies, a space startup company, fined with $900,000 by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Formerly, this year, the space company launched four small satellites in Earth’s orbit without any permission. Besides, the fine is a part of an arrangement made with the Federal Communications Commission. On 20th December, US telecom controllers said it is the first company to launch the satellites illegally. The FCC noted Swarm Technologies applied to get permission to deploy its SpaceBEEs-teeny, tiny experimental satellites into orbit. At that time, the FCC did not approve the mission and rejected to launch the small satellites.

But, after one month of rejection Swarm Technologies launched its satellites illegally. After launching the tiny satellites anyway in January, FCC smelt the news and initiated an inquiry commission. The agency says deploying satellites unlawfully leads to a risk of satellite collisions and interference of radio frequencies. Additionally, it may threaten operations of government’s satellites. Therefore, to settle this matter, the startup company admits that it was active in these illegal activities. Swarm Technologies will also implement a five-year partnership plan, and agrees to pay the penalty.

Along with paying the massive fine amount, the FCC demands Swarm Technologies to submit the pre-launch reports. However, these reports must involve all the details about the deployment vehicle that will fetch the satellites. Similarly, the report must include information of time and launch site. Contact information for whom the deployment is being done should be involved in the report. It is necessary to submit the report within five days of the space agency buying a ride on a rocket, or within 45 days of the flight. On the other hand, the FCC says it will review Swarm’s launch operations on a case-by-case basis in the future. In the end, Swarm agrees to submit pre-launch reports to the FCC for the next three years.

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