A US-based mobile connectivity start-up will pay a fine of nearly $1 million for launching four experimental satellites earlier this year despite being denied a licence by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Swarm Technologies, which is focused on developing satellites to provide global connectivity for IoT and other applications, admitted to the illegal launch after the FCC initiated an investigation in March.
The FCC rejected a launch request on the grounds that the equipment (pictured) was so small it would be difficult for the US Space Surveillance Network to track.
Swarm Technologies launched the satellites anyway in January 2018.
The commission said its investigation of the incident turned up evidence Swarm Technologies had also tested weather balloon-to-ground stations and other equipment without the necessary authorisation prior to launching the satellites.
In addition to paying a fine of $900,000 to the US Treasury, Swarm Technologies agreed to submit prelaunch reports to the FCC for the next three years and follow a strict compliance plan to prevent future rule violations.
The settlement comes as a number of companies, including OneWeb and SpaceX, work toward the launch of new low-earth orbit satellite constellations to support use cases including mobile connectivity and IoT.
Rosemary Harold, chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau, said the commission will continue to “aggressively enforce” authorisation requirements for communications satellites and earth stations, noting such regulations “protect other operators against radio interference and collisions, making space a safer place to operate”.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back