Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – November 2022
Regulatory Briefing – November 2022
UN First Committee approves resolution to ban the testing of anti-satellite missiles
The United Nations (UN) First Committee, which deals with disarmament, global challenges and threats to peace that affect the international community, has approved a United States (US) resolution to ban the testing of anti-satellite missiles (ASAT).
The UN First Committee voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, with 154 in favour, eight against and 10 abstentions. The US first put forward the resolution at a meeting of the UN Open Ended Working Group on Reducing Space Threats (OEWG) in September 2022, following the announcement by Vice President Kamala Harris that the US intended to unilaterally impose such a ban.
Although this resolution is not legally binding, the vote represents an indication by the UN First Committee that many countries are willing to accept the banning of destructive ASAT testing as an international political commitment.
European Union (EU) Parliament adopts new law to strengthen cybersecurity resilience
The EU Parliament has adopted new cybersecurity legislation requiring EU countries to meet stricter supervisory and enforcement measures and harmonise their sanctions.
The legislation, adopted on 10 November 2022, lists the space sector as an “essential sector” and will set tighter obligations regarding cybersecurity, reporting and information sharing. The legislation also covers incident response, supply chain security, encryption and vulnerability disclosure, among other provisions. After the approval of the EU Parliament, the EU Council must formally adopt the law before it can be published in the Official Journal of the EU.
Spaceport Cornwall receives first UK spaceport licence
The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued the first UK spaceport licence to Spaceport Cornwall on 16 November 2022. This means that Spaceport Cornwall has met the requisite safety, security and environmental standards to begin operations.
Now that the CAA licence has been granted, Virgin Orbit, can begin rehearsals ahead of a proposed horizontal launch at Spaceport Cornwall This would be the first of its kind on European soil.
UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Virgin Orbit’s planned launch reinforces our position as a leading space nation as we look to the future of spaceflight, which can spur growth and innovation across the sector, as well as creating thousands of jobs and apprenticeships.”
Ofcom publishes new Space Spectrum Strategy
Ofcom has published a new Space Spectrum Strategy which refreshes Ofcom’s strategy for managing radio spectrum used by the space sector.
The Strategy updates the previous 2017 Space Sector Strategy and focuses activities in three areas: communications; Earth observation; and navigation and understanding and enabling access to space.
Published on 10 November 2022, the Strategy responds to the responses provided to the consultation published by Ofcom in March 2022.
Ofcom extends access in the Ku band
Ofcom, on 10 November 2022, has released a statement confirming it will implement its proposal to extend access in the Ku band. This follows Ofcom’s consultation earlier this year aimed at addressing the growing strain on the available spectrum for satellite services utilising the upper half of the 14.0-14.50 GHz frequency band and to bring the UK into line with other international jurisdictions.
Anyone wishing to make use of the 14.25-14.5 GHz band can now request a variation to their existing licence(s) or apply for a new licence.
Ofcom proposal to remove fax from universal service obligation
Ofcom is proposing rule changes that will mean telecoms providers will no longer be required to provide fax services under the universal service obligation.
The changes have been proposed due to the limited use of fax machines and the migration of the technology which supported fax services from telephone networks to internet protocol technology. Ofcom has invited comments on these proposed changes by 1 December 2022.
Switzerland joins ASAT ban
The Government of Switzerland has joined the US-led ban on the destructive testing of direct ascent ASAT missiles.
Announcing its support, the Government of Switzerland stated that “[m]easures to prevent the development and use of such capabilities should constitute a priority, and – as an urgent first step – we welcome the announcements made by a number of States not to conduct destructive, direct-ascent ASAT missile tests in space.”
Artemis 1 launches from the Kennedy Space
The Artemis 1 Space Launch System (SLS) launched from the Kennedy Space Centre early morning on 16 November 2022, sending the uncrewed Orion capsule towards the Moon. The successful SLS launch marks the beginning of the NASA-led Artemis programme which will eventually see humans return to the Moon.
The Artemis programme is supported by international partners such as the European Space Agency, which is delivering Orion’s European Service Module as well as elements of the Moon-orbiting Lunar Gateway.
FCC proposes new Space Bureau
The Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Jessica Rosenworcel, has announced an intention to reorganise the FCC’s International Bureau into a new Space Bureau and a standalone Office of International Affairs. Announced on 3 November 2022, the creation of a Space Bureau seeks to elevate the significance of satellite programs and policy, including the role of satellite in domestic communications and US broadband goals. A refocused Office of Internal Affairs would instead focus on international communications regulation and licensing.
China and Namibia strengthen space industry ties
China has taken steps to strengthen its relations with the Namibian space industry. At a talk held on 2 November 2022, the Chinese Embassy’s Charge d’affairs in Namibia, Yang Jun, reiterated Namibia’s support in facilitating the construction of a Chinese Earth station in Namibia and noted that China will assist in training Namibian engineers on space technology and perform joint space research with the country.
Japan enters into partnership with Australia for new Mars mission
Japan has agreed a partnership with Australia for a new Mars mission. The partnership was announced jointly by the Australian and Japanese Prime Ministers in a media statement given while Prime Minister Kishida visited Australia recently. The upcoming mission will be to Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos. The aim of this mission is to determine whether the moons were created in an impact event with Mars, or whether they are captured asteroids. Similar to the previous return of the Hayabusa2 capsule, Australia will provide a landing site for the spacecraft when it returns with its samples to Earth.
Uganda and Zimbabwe
On 7 November 2022, Uganda and Zimbabwe launched their respective first satellites onto the International Space Station. The satellites, PearlAfricaSat-1 and ZimSat-1, will be deployed into orbit at a later date. The satellite launches result from the countries being beneficiaries of the Joint Global Multi-Nations Birds Satellite project, an initiative of the Japanese Space Agency and the Kyushu Institute of Technology.
Australia joins ASAT ban
Australia has joined the US-led ban on the destructive testing of direct ascent ASAT missiles.
In a joint statement, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Defence Minister Richard Marles and Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic stated that “[t]he use of these missiles to destroy space objects is reckless, irresponsible and poses threats to space assets of all nations” and called on “all nations” to join the ban as a “transparency and confidence-building measure.”
Agreement reached with traditional custodians for Square Kilometre Array telescope
After nearly seven years of negotiation, traditional custodians in Western Australia have consented to the building of a $3 billion radio telescope on their ancestral lands. This agreement was the final significant step needed before construction of the telescope can begin.
The telescope, with sites in Australia and South Africa, will be a world-first and will look for radio waves from the beginning of the universe. Once operational, the telescope will allow astronomers to view space with unprecedented detail and speed.
Consultation for New Zealand’s space policy review has closed
New Zealand has undertaken a consultation process as part of its space policy review. The consultation closed on 31 October 2022. The feedback provided in the consultation will inform amendments to existing policies and the creation of new policies.
A summary report will be published which collates the feedback provided.