Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – August 2022
European Space Agency (ESA) establishes new advisory group
ESA has established a 12-person advisory group to guide ESA’s human and robotic space exploration activities. The advisory group will consist of a range of experts, including politicians, academics and economists. The advisory group is scheduled to meet in September and November 2022, with further meetings in 2023.
These meetings will allow the group to provide input into decisions made at the ESA Council of Ministers taking place at the end of November 2022. The advisory group is also scheduled to publish a report in March 2023, ahead of a joint ESA-EU Space Council Summit planned for later in 2023.
The UK Space Agency (UKSA) publishes its Corporate Plan 2022-25
The UKSA published its Corporate Plan 2022-25 on 18 July 2022. It sets out the work the UKSA will deliver over this period of time, including the UKSA’s role, strategy and key targets and milestones.
This follows the publication of the UK’s National Space Strategy in 2021 which brings together the UK’s civil and defence policy and sets out goals for the UK’s space economy.
Ofcom publishes consultation on proposed annual licence fees for 10 GHz, 28 GHz and 32 GHz spectrum for terrestrial and space use
Ofcom published a consultation setting out its proposed annual licence fees for 10 GHz, 28 GHz and 32 GHz spectrum on 19 July 2022.
Ofcom propose the following licence fees:
- a national annual licence fee of £7,568 per 2 x 1 MHz for 10 GHz spectrum (for terrestrial use or wireless cameras);
- a national annual licence fee of £4,576 per 2 x 1 MHz for 32 GHz spectrum (for terrestrial or satellite use); and
- regional annual licence fees for 28 GHz spectrum based on a national rate of £4,576 per 2 x 1 MHz of spectrum (for terrestrial use).
These proposed fees would apply from 21 February 2023. Ofcom also proposes to align the regional licence fees previously set for 28 GHz spectrum.
Isar Aerospace granted approval to launch satellites from French Guiana
Isar Aerospace, a German launch provider, has been granted approval from the French Space Agency to launch satellites from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana. This launch site will be able to serve orbits inaccessible from Isar Aerospace’s other launch pad in Andøya, Norway.
Josef Fleischmann, COO and Co-Founder of Isar Aerospace has stated: “We are excited that [the French Space Agency] has selected us as small satellite launch operator to fly satellites from the Guiana Space Centre. With adding [this launch site], we will further extend our global network of critical infrastructure and gain even more flexibility for our customers.”
Liechtenstein publishes a draft space law for consultation
The Government of Liechtenstein has published a consultation report on its new draft space law, designed to facilitate the authorisation of space activities carried out from Liechtenstein or by Liechtenstein nationals and the registration of space objects by the Government of Liechtenstein.
Currently, there are no authorisation requirements for space activities in Liechtenstein. The draft space law provides a basis for such authorisation and seeks to implement Liechtenstein’s international obligations.
The consultation report highlights safety and sustainability as key concerns in the licencing process for space activities, and introduces rather strict standards to be met before approval in the form of an authorisation is granted. In addition to the technical requirements and the avoidance of space debris, this also applies to the insurance conditions related to a licence. Strict liability is established, irrespective of fault, in relation to damage caused on the ground or to aircraft in flight.
For reasons of transparency, the draft space law contains detailed provisions with regard to the ownership structure of the operator and super-vision and control rights of the government to ensure compliance. Here, too, Liechtenstein pursues a rather restrictive approach with clear measures to ensure compliance and penalise non-compliance with the regulations.
The consultation period ends on 12 October 2022. Interested parties can respond to the consultation accessible here.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers increasing access to Ku-band
The FCC is considering increasing access to Ku-band spectrum for Starlink and other NGSO operators to improve broadband speeds. This proposal is similar to changes recently made for satellites in geostationary orbit (GEO).
The FCC’s proposal includes opening up the 17 GHz frequencies, which would allow NGSO operators to access frequencies in the 17.7-17.8 GHz band for satellite services provided to fixed points on Earth.
The FCC will release a Notice of Proposed Rule Making setting out the proposal and will seek comments during a 90-day period starting when the Notice is published on the Federal Register.
US House of Representatives passes legislation which includes funding for space sector
The US House of Representatives passed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on 14 July 2022. The NDAA includes measures which increase funding for space launch and require the Pentagon to establish a tactically responsive space program focused on rapid launch of small satellites.
The US House of Representatives’ version of the NDAA will need to be reconciled with the Senate’s version of the NDAA. The Senate will need to vote on its version of the NDAA; a date is yet to be set for this vote.
Saudi Arabia signs the Artemis Accords
Mohammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, CEO of the Saudi Space Commission, signed the Artemis Accords on 14 July 2022 on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the 21st country to sign the Artemis Accords, which are a US-led initiative to establish a common vision for countries looking to participate in NASA’s 21st-century lunar exploration plans.
Saudi Arabia’s signing of the Artemis Accords follows US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia. The US White House released a statement on 15 July 2022 welcoming Saudi Arabia’s signing of the Artemis Accords and indicating that additional cooperation is planned between the US and Saudi Arabia.
United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates (UAE) announces National Space Fund
The UAE Space Agency has announced that it will launch a $800 million National Space Fund which will support new programmes in the space sector.
The first project to be launched under the National Space Fund will be a constellation of advanced remote sensing satellites called Sirb. The National Space Fund forms part of the UAE’s plans to create long-term economic opportunities in the space sector. The first satellite of the Sirb constellation is expected to launch in three years.
Djibouti signs the Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space (Registration Convention)
Djibouti signed the Registration Convention on 14 July 2022. The Registration Convention is one of the five United Nations treaties on outer space and requires states to provide the United Nations with details about national space objects and maintain a national registry.
Australian Space Agency publishes new set of guidelines for Overseas Payload Permits
The Australian Space Agency has published guidelines on overseas payload permits. Overseas payload permits are a type of licence that can be granted under the Australian Space (Launches and Returns) Act 2018 for launches undertaken by an Australian national from outside Australia.
The guidelines explain the application and assessment process for an overseas payload permit and are aimed at providing applicants with transparency and clarity.
Inaugural Space Policy Dialogue between Australia and the Republic of Korea
The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) held the inaugural Space Policy Dialogue between Australia and the Republic of Korea on 15 July 2022.
During the meeting the group discussed multilateral space cooperation, space security and the commercial space sector. DFAT released a statement following the meeting saying that “the Republic of Korea and Australia have aspirational space programs and growing commercial space industries, and are working with like-minded countries to reduce space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours.”
Launch permits granted for experimental launches from Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex
ATSpace, a newly formed space services company, has been granted launch permits to launch two suborbital “Kestrel I” rockets from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex operated by Southern Launch in South Australia. ATSpace is the first Australian rocket manufacturer to be granted launch permits under the Australian regulatory framework.
The rockets will be launched along sub-orbital trajectories to test the rocket design under different operating conditions. As part of the test launches, rocket launch noise data will be collected to inform the sustainable future operation of the spaceport.