FCC Blasts Tech Startup for Launching Rogue Miniature Satellites
A Silicon Valley startup is in big trouble with the FCC for launching four of its satellites without permission. Swarm Technology of Mountain View, Calif. has been developing its ultra-small satellites, called SpaceBEEs, designed to provide a network for the IoT devices in our homes and cars.
The company was founded in 2016 by ex-Google engineer Sara Spangelo and another who sold his company to Apple. The company and its activities have been in stealth mode until now, but in applications for grants, it claims that its worldwide network technologies offer a much lower cost solution with and wide applications.
The reason the FCC refused to grant them permission in December of last year was that their satellites are so small they would be a safety hazard to other spacecraft in Earth’s orbit. Their tiny size makes them difficult to track, which could result in collisions with existing spacecraft. The letter from the FCC noted: