Tuesday, May 11, 2021

FCC Considers UHF/Microwave Ham Bands for Commercial Space Launch Frequencies

The FCC in April issued a Report and Order allocating spectrum in the 2200-2290 MHz range for  private space travel and satellite launch companies to use for pre-launch testing and space launch operations. The order creates a non-federal secondary allocation for these uses in spectrum that is currently reserved exclusively for federal government use.

The action also includes a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which seeks comment on possible additional spectrum for private space launch purposes. Among the frequencies specifically mentioned are 420-430 MHz in the 70-centimter amateur band and 5650-5925 MHz, which is the 5-centimeter ham band. Amateur radio has a secondary allocation in each of these bands, and the NPRM made no mention of the bands' current occupants and/or whether they would be displaced. The 5.6-GHz band is already shared widely with home WiFi networks.