SpaceBEEs are tiny satellites engineered and exploited by the company Swarm Technologies. In 2018, it made headlines by sending 4 experimental satellites on a ride-share of the Indian rocket PSLV, despite being denied the license to do so by FCC. The Company eventually entered an agreement with FCC, in which it accepted to pay a $900,000 fine (and to abide to a stricter control regime). It’s constellation has now close to 100 LEO satellites (the full constellation should comprise 150).
This story, the first illegal satellites in space history, triggered a number of questions on this site: Did India breach “Space Laws”? Has FCC awarded a license to Swarm Technologies after all? Discussions on these legal issues can be found here, here, here).
Although there is clear evidence that Swarm has now obtained all authorizations to operate commercially its constellation (see here), an interesting follow-up question is:
- Which state finally took responsibility for the famous first 4 experimental SpaceBEEs, launched in Jan. 2018, whether or not they are operational or has become junk in space?
Note: You may take a look at the so-called Registration Convention (of Objects in Space). Finding the clues to answer my question will lead you, I hope, to interesting "discoveries" with respect to the intent and purpose of this international "law" (and its ambiguities). It may change your perception on the seriousness of the debris issue, especially in LEO. Please share your thoughts and findings.