Plum Insight – Balancing act: regulating space services

Understanding the regulations adopted by national regulators for the authorisation of space services can be a challenging task. Over the years, various authorisation schemes have evolved and been adopted in different countries. However, by its very nature, the space sector requires international cooperation, and the lack of standardisation has resulted in different requirements for the provision of space-based telecommunication services and how Earth stations and satellites access radio spectrum.

With the number of satellites orbiting the Earth increasing, there is a need for countries to make clear their approaches to spectrum authorisation and satellite filings. The complexity of this issue is likely to increase with several new satellite constellations, each comprising hundreds of satellites and aiming to offer a range of new services, and by diverging regulatory requirements of space services and applications ranging from fixed and mobile satellite communication networks, to space research systems examining physical characteristics of celestial bodies.

This paper outlines the approaches adopted worldwide for regulating space services and highlights key challenges mainly faced by national authorities.