In January, the PSLV launch delivered 28 satellites to orbit, with 4 SpaceBee satellites among that number, despite them not having an FCC licence (due to size, visibility and tracking concerns)

As mentioned in this article there should have been checks to confirm the satellites launched were licenced, but what do those checks consist of?

  • $\begingroup$ Would this not depend heavily upon juristiction. A company not based in the USA launching outside USA, why would they need FCC which I think is an USA agencys aproval? $\endgroup$
    – lijat
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 6:02
  • $\begingroup$ Happy to restrict this to US only if that helps - but given the strong collaboration between space-faring nations I am assuming any answer is likely to be broadly applicable. $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 9:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @lijat This depends on the interpretation of the outer space treaty. Most countries have signed it and one of its key points is that countries are liable for damages caused by their spacecraft. This means that defacto all space agencies coordinate with eachother in order to prevent collisions and the FCC plays a big part in this globally $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 13:23

1 Answer 1


The launch provider is supposed to look at the licenses. I know with one of the launches that I have been involved with, the license was approved only a few days before launch, and the launch provider was getting pretty nervous and expecting that we would work on improving that.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Does looking at the licences mean checking that the satellite spec meets exactly what the licence says? Or is it more of a "4 satellites...yup, there's 4" thing? $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ I think think it is just making sure the company has a licence for the satellite. But I have only barely seen this in practice, so... $\endgroup$
    – PearsonArtPhoto
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 10:30
  • $\begingroup$ I've asked about the government of India's responsibility (rather than ISRO's) in the follow-up question Might ISRO's 2018-004 launch be at least a technical violation of the Outer Space Treaty by Indai? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ What if the launch provider is a govenment agency, such as the ISRO, who can issue their own licenses? Do they really care about FCC? $\endgroup$
    – Rainer P.
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 17:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.