The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made an announcement on Monday that it had issued its first fine to a firm for breaking its anti-space debris rule. The violation in question occurred when the corporation failed to remove debris from outer space.
Dish Network is compelled to make a payment to the commission in the sum of $150,000 since the firm is unable to de-orbit its EchoStar-7 satellite, which has been in space for more than twenty years. The satellite has been in space for more than twenty years. Instead of withdrawing the satellite from orbit in a controlled manner, Dish put it in what is known as a “disposal orbit” at an altitude that was low enough to put it at risk of becoming debris in orbit.
“As satellite operations become more prevalent and the space economy accelerates, we must be certain that operators comply with their commitments,” said Enforcement bureau chief Loyaan A Egal in the statement announcing the Dish settlement. The statement was issued in response to the announcement of the settlement. The statement was released as a reaction to the news that the settlement had been agreed upon. “This is a groundbreaking settlement that makes it very clear that the FCC has strong enforcement authority and the capability to enforce its vitally important space debris rules,” the FCC said in a statement after the agreement was reached.
In 2002, Dish successfully placed their satellite in geostationary orbit, which is an area of space that begins 22,000 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the surface of the Earth. It stipulated that once the EchoStar-7 had completed its duty, it would be sent into a “graveyard orbit” approximately 186 miles (300 kilometers) above where it had been stationed, where it would no longer pose a threat to other operating satellites. It agreed to a plan for the mitigation of orbital debris in 2012, which stipulated that it would be sent into a “graveyard orbit.”
But in the year 2022, Dish came to the understanding that the satellite was running low on fuel and that it would not have enough to bring the satellite to where it was scheduled to go if it continued on its current course. Instead, the satellite arrived just a hair more than 76 miles (122 kilometers) above the areas of active geostationary orbit, which is a distance of 178 kilometers from where it was meant to be.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has indicated growing concern regarding space junk, which is broadly defined by the FCC as artificial objects orbiting Earth that are not working spacecraft. The FCC has voiced growing concern regarding space debris. It is believed that the longer outdated elements remain in orbit, the more difficult it is for newly launched satellites to begin and effectively complete their missions. In 2022, they enacted a rule that compelled satellite operators to dispose of their spacecraft within five years of the completion of their missions. This bill was approved into law.
In a statement that followed the announcement of the regulation that was issued in 2022, FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel remarked, “Right now there are thousands of metric tons of orbital debris in the air above – and it is going to grow.” This was mentioned in reference to the situation that existed at the time. “It is going to be something that we have to deal with. Because if we don’t, this garbage floating about in space can hinder us from seizing exciting new opportunities.”