The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) issued an order to Dish for the company’s “failure to properly deorbit” a satellite known as EchoStar-7, which has been in orbit since 2002. As a result, a “breakthrough” first-ever fine of $150,000 has been issued over space debris. According to the FCC, the compromise “includes an admission of liability from the company” as well as a commitment to stick to a monitoring plan.
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As the Enforcement Bureau recognizes in the settlement, the EchoStar-7 satellite was an older spacecraft that had been explicitly exempted from the FCC’s rule requiring a minimum disposal orbit. DISH has a long track record of safely flying a large satellite fleet and takes seriously its responsibilities as an FCC licensee, explained a Dish spokesperson.
Dish had relocated the geostationary satellite to a lower altitude than the two companies had settled on, where it “could pose orbital debris concerns,” according to the FCC’s statement. This occurred while the geostationary satellite’s operational life was coming to an end.
Why is it so important to ‘clean’ the space?
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), which regulates aviation in the United States, has stated its plan to require private corporations to get rid of the upper parts of rocket launch vehicles by, for instance, bringing them to the atmosphere of the Earth or relocating them to a more sparsely populated “graveyard orbit.” This move is intended to limit the amount of space debris. According to estimates provided by the European Space Agency, there are about one million particles of debris in Earth’s orbit that are bigger than a centimeter and, unfortunately, have the potential to “disable a spacecraft.”
Collisions present considerable dangers to people on Earth since satellites are now essential for services such as GPS, financial data, and, of course, broadband internet.
Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.