Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – December 2023

By Joanne Wheeler | 28 December, 2023 Posted in Articles and Publications

Alden Orrery Graphic Dec23 72dpi


Regulatory Briefing – November 2023




International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations revised to support spectrum sharing and technological innovation

On 15 December 2023, ITU Member States agreed on revisions to the global treaty governing the use of radio frequency spectrum, both on Earth and in space, at the World Telecommunications Conference 2023 (WRC-2023). WRC-23 approved 43 new resolutions, revised 56 existing resolutions, and suppressed 33 resolutions. The updates deepen global connectivity, improve access to space-based radio resources and enhance safety on land, in the air, and at sea.

These revisions also allocate spectrum resources for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), supporting the advancement of broadband connectivity and the development of mobile services like 4G, 5G, and future 6G.

Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau said that updating the Radio Regulations has “helped us forge a path that provides a stable, predictable regulatory environment essential for the development of innovative radiocommunication services for all”.


UNOOSA Launches ‘UNOOSA Space Bridge’

The Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Aarti Holla-Maini launched the “UNOOSA Space Bridge, Where Leaders Meet” on 18 December 2023.

The UNOOSA Space Bridge aims to promote global dialogue and enable local action through targeted exchanges that enhance international expertise and break down silos.

The UNOOSA Space Bridge will bring heads of space agencies, government representatives, regulators, industry professionals, UN entities and civil society as appropriate together to identify tangible solutions that empower policymakers to advance space sustainability and leverage space for the Sustainable Development Goals.




European Union (EU)

The Council of the EU adopted Council Conclusions on Space Traffic Management: State of Play

On 8 December 2023, the Council of the EU adopted conclusions on ‘Space Traffic Management: State of Play’.

The conclusions stress the urgency of developing an EU space traffic management (STM) approach, which will contribute to space safety, sustainability and security, and welcome the progress made so far. The conclusions also call on the Commission, the European External Action Service and the European Defence Agency to work with member states of the EU to ensure that defence and security aspects are given due consideration, while stressing the civil nature of the EU space programmes.

These conclusions on STM acknowledge the role of security and defence in space and acknowledge the forthcoming regulatory framework on space traffic management that the Commission intends to present in 2024.



Space Act to come into force in January 2024

The Liechtenstein Space Act will come into force in January 2024.

The Space Act will provide, in particular, for regulations on the authorisation and registration of space actviities and on liablity in the event of damage.


United Kingdom

SaxaVord Spaceport becomes the UK’s first licensed spaceport for vertical rocket launches

SaxaVord Spaceport on the island of Unst, in Shetland, has been licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to begin launches in 2024.

The licence permits up to 30 launches a year and will make SaxaVord Spaceport the first fully-licensed spaceport in Western Europe able to launch vertically into orbit.

Tim Johnson, director of space regulation at the CAA said “Granting SaxaVord their licence is an era-defining moment for the UK space sector”.


UK Space Agency (UKSA) funding boosts plans for launch from SaxaVord Spaceport and Sutherland Spaceport

Scottish-based Hylmpulse and Orbex have secured over £3 million each from the UKSA to develop their world-leading technologies in a sustainable way and enable spaceflight activities from the UK spaceports SaxaVord Spaceport and Sutherland Spaceport respectively.

The funding was awarded using UKSA contributions to the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Boost! Programme which aims to help companies develop world-leading space transportation services and bring them to market.



North America

United States

White House Releases Novel Space Activities Authorisation and Supervision Framework

On 20 December 2023, the White House released its Novel Space Activities Authorisation and Supervision Framework (Framework). The Framework is designed to regulate private sector activities in space that currently fall outside the scope of existing US regulation.

One significant aspect of the Framework involves the establishment of a Private Sector Space Activities Interagency Steering Group. This group, co-led by the Secretaries of Commerce and Transportation, will collaborate with the private sector to develop best practices and information-sharing protocols that address key US government interests related to novel space activities.

The overall goal of the Framework will facilitate innovation and further the US’ leadership in the safety, security, and long-term sustainability of the space environment and space activities.

The full Framework can be read here.


House and Senate pass 2024 National Defence Authorisation Act.

The House voted to pass the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (Act) on 14 December 2023, a day after the Senate approved the bill.

The Act authorises $841.4 billion to be granted to the Department of Defense and $30.1 billion to the US Space Force. Amongst other provisions, the Act allows the Department of Defense to support commercial space launch capacity on government-owned space launch ranges and directs the US Space Force to submit a plan to improve threat-sharing arrangements with commercial space operators who are under contract with the Department of Defense.


House Science Committee advances commercial space bill

On 29 November 2023, the House Science Committee voted to send the Commercial Space Act of 2023 to the full House.

The Committee’s chairman, Representative Frank Lucas said the bill is “critical to supporting America’s commercial space economy, as it streamlines the regulatory environment, ensures compliance with international treaty obligations, reduces administrative burdens and promotes best practices in orbit”.


Canada to join Pillar II of Horizon Europe

On 24 November 2023, it was announced that Canada will join Pillar II of Horizon Europe, the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. Joining Horizon Europe will further strengthen and deepen links between the scientific communities in Canada and the EU, foster innovation and enable researchers to work together on global challenges, such as climate change, energy, digital industry and space.

The signing of the Association Agreement, enabling Canada to join Pillar II of Horizon Europe, is expected to take place in 2024, pending the completion of all necessary validations on both sides.



Latin America


Brazilian Space Agency and Azercosmos sign Memorandum of Understanding on space cooperation

The Brazilian Space Agency and Azercosmos, the Space Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on space cooperation.

The MoU envisages Brazil-Azerbaijan collaboration in space science and technology and will serve as an instrument to establish a framework for cooperation in the space domain.

The MoU aims to harness the potential of satellite data applications across diverse fields, ranging from agriculture to disaster monitoring, while also exploring academic and training opportunities for personnel and enhancing student participation in space-related programs in both countries.




South Korea

South Korea launches first spy satellite

 South Korea launched its first spy satellite onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on 1 December 2023.

The satellite seeks to enhance South Korea’s ability to monitor North Korea, where South Korea has previously been dependent on the surveillance capabilities of the US. It is the first of five spy satellites that South Korea contracted with SpaceX to launch into space by 2025.



 Thales Alenia Space Signs Multi-Satellite Contract with PT Len to provide EO constellation for Indonesian Ministry of Defence

On 7 December 2023, Thales Alenia Space and PT Len Industri, an Indonesian State-owned technology company, announced that they had signed a multi-mission contract to provide an Earth observation constellation with radar and optical sensors for the Indonesian Ministry of Defence.

Speaking about the deal, Hervé Derrey, CEO of Thales Alenia Space, said “Leveraging our long-standing expertise in Earth observation, we are proud to celebrate a new milestone towards Indonesia’s sovereignty and safety needs, providing a one-of-a-kind integrated optical and radar system”.





Angola signs Artemis Accords

Angola became the 33rd state to sign the Artemis Accords on 30 November 2023. The Artemis Accords are a US-led initiative to establish a common vision for countries looking to participate in NASA’s 21st-century lunar exploration plans.

Angola’s participation in the Artemis program will offer protection for its space assets as well as ensure Angola gains a head start in the space exploitation goals that the Artemis program has to offer.



Egypt joins China’s International Lunar Research Station Moon base initiative

On 6 December 2023 the Egyptian Space Agency (EGSA) signed a cooperation agreement with the China National Space Administration (CNSA) regarding the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).

As part of a series of space agreements between the two space agencies, the CNSA and EGSA also signed a MoU between their respective governments on cooperation and the peaceful use of outer space.

Areas of cooperation include joint research in lunar and deep space exploration, the development and launch of spacecraft, space infrastructure, satellite data reception and applications, the BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation, space science and astronomical observation.



 Eutelsat OneWeb to help deliver full connectivity over Libya from 2024

 Eutelsat OneWeb announced on 13 December 2023 that it has won a new contract to deliver connectivity services, in both Geostationary Orbit (GEO) and Low-Earth Orbit (LEO), to Libya.

In particular, Eutelsat OneWeb will provide exclusive access to its LEO powered connectivity constellation, delivering full connectivity over Libya from early 2024. The connectivity services will provide high-speed, low latency connectivity for a range of applications including commercial connectivity to the Oil and Gas and Financial Services industries, Government sectors and remote connectivity for humanitarian organisations.



Middle East

United Arab Emirates

UAE Organises First Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit at COP28

 The UAE Space Agency successfully organised the first Space Agencies Leaders’ Summit at COP28, with over 20 space international space agencies participating.

The Summit brought together key actors from global climate policy and space exploration sectors to discuss topics such as: enhancing data sharing between established and emerging space nations; strengthening climate research by allocating resources and funding towards climate research initiatives within the space sector; supporting climate monitoring initiatives by establishing new programs; and promoting sustainable space operations by minimising the environmental impact of space operations.



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