The Federal Communications Commission has given the green light to Kuiper Systems, a subsidiary of Amazon, to launch its fleet of 3,236 broadband satellites, Gizmodo reported. The approval, however, is subject to certain conditions, including the requirement for Amazon to decommission its satellites seven years after deployment and provide regular reports on satellite launches to the FCC.
As per the FCC approval given on February 8th, Amazon can commence deploying broadband satellites under Project Kuiper though that would be subject to specific conditions set by the regulator. The FCC recognizes the potential risk of collisions posed by the satellites in the event of loss of control or some internal failures. As such, Amazon is required to submit semi-annual reports detailing the number of satellites launched and the pace at which older satellites are retired. This is part of the FCC’s efforts to reduce the chances of crashes with other space objects in low Earth orbit.
The approval for Project Kuiper also includes a mandate to decommission satellites within the constellation at the conclusion of their seven-year missions. This stipulation is reinforced by the FCC’s 5-year rule, which was implemented in September 2022 as part of efforts to minimize space debris. The 5-year rule mandates that satellites must be brought back to Earth within five years after the completion of their mission, a significant reduction from the previous 25-year timeframe.
“Kuiper identifies the ISS in its post-mission disposal plans, but given the ongoing and persistent operations of inhabitable space stations generally, such as the Tiangong space station, we condition the authorization to require that such space stations be taken into account, i.e., Kuiper must ensure that sufficient propellant is available for its satellites to continue to maintain collision avoidance capabilities and utilize other remaining fuel to lower the apogee below any inhabitable space stations,” the FCC spelt out in its approval order.
Project Kuiper has a plan in place to dispose of satellites from orbit by lowering their perigee to a height of 218 miles (350 kilometers). At this altitude, the increased density of the atmosphere will cause the satellites to degrade from orbit within a year. Any leftover propellant will be used to decrease the satellite’s apogee to below that of the ISS or any other space stations. This, it is believed, will significantly reduce the risk of collisions with other spacecraft in low Earth orbit.
With a keen interest in tech, I make it a point to keep myself updated on the latest developments in the world of technology and gadgets. That includes smartphones or tablet devices but stretches to even AI and self-driven automobiles as well, the latter being my latest fad. Besides writing, I like watching videos, reading, listening to music, or experimenting with different recipes. Motion picture is another aspect that interests me a lot and maybe I’ll make a film sometime in the future.