Amazon Has Problems with FCC Orbital Debris Decision

Amazon, which is getting into the satellite-building business, is taking issue with some of the FCC's proposals to tighten standards for satellite-related orbital debris, saying they are at odds with orbital debris policies of the rest of the government and risk U.S. space leadership.

The commission voted unanimously in favor of the draft rule changes last week. 

Related: FCC Updates Orbital Debris Rules 

But Amazon execs, in phone meetings with FCC staffers, said some of the draft rules, including one analyzing collision and casualty-risks, "threaten U.S. leadership in the commercial space sector and compromise innovation in the space environment." 

The company said it remains committed to space safety, just not the way the FCC is proposing to achieve it.  

Amazon said the FCC proposal diverges from existing government space policy, and not in a good way. 

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"[T]he Draft R&O substitutes Commission rules for the consensus U.S. government position of more than a dozen different government departments, agencies and offices," Amazon execs said. "The Draft R&O’s approach conflicts with the President’s desire for a 'coordinated,' “national space policy.”

"Rather than adopt inconsistent regulations that may inhibit innovation and raise the specter of interagency jurisdictional conflict, Amazon recommends the Commission adopt debris mitigation standards that align with existing U.S. government standards," it told the FCC staffers. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.