CHAIRMAN JULIUS GENACHOWSKI
Amendment of Part 2 of the Commission's Rules for Federal Earth Stations Communicating with
Non-Federal Fixed Satellite Service Space Stations; Federal Space Station Use of the 399.9-
400.05 MHz band; and Allocation of Spectrum for Non-Federal Space Launch Operations, ET
Docket No. 13-115, RM-11341.
For the record, it’s only coincidence that this is on the agenda the week before the new Star Trek movie –
and that it is my final meeting item.
While we associate rockets and space exploration with TV, movies, and science fiction, the fact is the
economic potential of the commercial space industry is large and real, and today we’re taking a big step
to spur growth in U.S. commercial space launch services and make the U.S. more competitive in this
growing global marketplace.
The commercial space launch industry encompasses human spaceflight, research, education, and so much
Thanks to powerfully innovative American companies like SpaceX, commercial launches are becoming
increasingly common, and are expected to increase significantly over time.
SpaceX, for instance, currently has more than 40 launches on its manifest.
Several billion dollars’ worth of U.S. commercial space launch activity is scheduled, and this industry has
already created thousands of jobs directly, and many more indirect jobs in related industries.
From a global competition standpoint, the U.S. is moving in a strong direction, and rapidly. At the start
of 2012, America’s global share of launches to geosynchronous orbit was zero percent. Within two years,
it’s projected to top 30 percent.
So where does the FCC fit into this equation?
Companies can’t launch or operate space vehicles without spectrum.
Operators need spectrum to communicate with space vehicles, to receive and send data, and to destroy
rockets if necessary.
We have been facilitating commercial launches on an ad hoc basis, as NASA ramps down in this area and
commercial space launches ramp up.
With today’s Notice the U.S. is leading the way in developing transparent rules for commercial space
launches – rules that will provide certainty and predictability for this important and growing industry.
This Notice, along with guidance released earlier this year on how to obtain special temporary authority
for commercial launches, are aimed at streamlining processes, eliminating unnecessary burdens and
increasing predictability for spectrum needed for commercial space launches.
This action will help boost U.S. leadership in the commercial space industry, and make the U.S. more
competitive in the global marketplace for space launch services.
Specifically, this item will ease access for commercial operators to spectrum used for communications
services to control, monitor, and track launch vehicles.
This is an important first step towards enabling commercial operators to directly obtain licenses needed
for use during launches, using a well-defined application and coordination processes.
The item also seeks input on the long-term communication and spectrum needs of the commercial space
The item also proposes to better facilitate federal government use of commercial satellite services.
The fixed satellite service is the backbone of the U.S. commercial satellite industry and is widely used for
a variety of commercial and Federal government services.
Today, federal earth stations obtain interference protection only under the umbrella of a commercial
The item proposes to provide federal earth stations with interference protection directly when
communicating with commercial satellites.
In addition, the item proposes to make a small amount of spectrum available for a new Federal mobile
The Commission is committed to supporting the commercial launch sector, while working with our
federal partners to successfully share the spectrum required for space launches, and to enable their use of
commercial satellite services.
Thank you to Renee Gregory in my office, and OET, IB, and WTB for your great work on this item.