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A company launched four satellites without telling anyone and now the government is mad

Issued: 2018-03-17

Swarm Technologies is a Silicon Valley startup that has stealthily been working on a space-based communications system for years. It filed an application last year with the Federal Communications Commission to send four tiny satellites into orbit, but the application was rejected, mostly because the miniscule size of the satellites (about half the size of a shoebox) makes them dangerous to other satellites and difficult to track.

But on January 12th, the four SpaceBee satellites were deployed into orbit by an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Swarm was not listed on the launch program as an operator, IEEE Spectrum reports, and the satellites were deployed without the permission of the FCC, which is charged with regulating commercial satellites.

The FCC has already revoked Swarm’s authorization for a follow-up mission next month, and it seems as though the FCC is considering further steps. The commission told Swarm that it will examine “the impact of the applicant’s apparent unauthorized launch and operation of four satellites… on its qualifications to be a Commission licensee,” IEEE Spectrum reported. – READ MORE

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