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Focus on Regulation

Smallsat companies form trade association to address issues facing the smallsat community

At the annual Smallsat conference in Logan, Utah, the Commercial Smallsat Spectrum Management Association (CSSMA) held its first meeting since legally forming earlier this month. A number of well-known smallsat operators and other companies have joined the organization, which seeks to advance a number of goals common to the smallsat community. These goals include creating conditions for a transparent and expedited spectrum coordination process for shared spectrum and advocating CSSMA views on spectrum management and other policy matters affecting the smallsat community.

Founding members of the CSSMA include Astro Digital, HawkEye 360, Kepler, Planet, Spire, KSAT, RBC Signals, Aerospace Corporation, and Hogan Lovells. “The smallsat industry is growing at an incredible rate and new companies need to understand the operational and regulatory challenges ahead of them. There is a lot of ‘know how’ that we can share to help increase the odds of success and make this community stronger,” said Craig Scheffler, Spectrum Manager for Planet. “Important legal and policy decisions are being made now by federal government agencies, and the smallsat community needs to express its unique perspective to help guide these processes,” said Jonathan Rosenblatt, General Counsel for Spire.

Pictured at the table (from left to right): Jonathan Rosenblatt, Spire; Craig Scheffler, Planet; Katherine Monson, KSAT; Nick Spina, Kepler; Scott Palo, Blue Canyon; Kyle Leveque, Astro Digital.

Representatives from the Department of Defense, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, and the National Aeronautical and Space Administration participated in the meeting informally in observer capacities. The government representatives provided insight on and discussed smallsat-related issues facing their respective agencies.

Pictured (from left to right): Merissa Velez, FCC; Karl Kensinger, FCC.

Representatives from the FCC stated that they have been working on issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking specific to smallsats. As currently drafted, the notice of proposed rulemaking would invite comments on proposals to streamline the licensing process for smallsats and address other smallsat-related issues such as reduced filing fees, spectrum allocation, and elimination or reduction of the bond requirement. The FCC representatives projected a possible first quarter 2018 release date but noted that the FCC had not yet approved release of the notice of proposed rulemaking.

The CSSMA expects to hold its next meeting in Silicon Valley on February 9, 2018 after the annual Smallsat Symposium (https://smallsatshow.com/).  Entities interested in joining or learning more about CSSMA should contact a representative (contact@cssma.space).