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September 27, 2022

Science Committee Leaders Send Letter to FCC on Orbital Debris Mitigation Standards

(Washington, DC) – Today, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member Frank Lucas (R-OK), Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics Chairman Don Beyer (D-VA), and Ranking Member Brian Babin (R-TX) sent a letter to Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the FCC's potential consideration of new regulations for orbital space debris at its upcoming open Commission meeting. The letter is a follow up to a letter sent from the bipartisan leadership of the Science Committee to the FCC in 2020. In the letter, the Committee leaders reassert their concern about the FCC’s proposal and request the Commission postpone consideration of this matter.

“As leaders of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, we understand the importance of supporting a safe, sustainable space environment. However, we are concerned that the Commission’s proposal to promulgate rules on this matter could create uncertainty and potentially conflicting guidance,” the Members said in the letter.

They continued, “Internationally, NASA has led coordination on space debris mitigation guidelines with other space agencies over several decades. This U.S. leadership in coordinating orbital debris guidelines provides a strong foundation for leading other areas of space sustainability. Actions on orbital debris mitigation that stand apart from or conflict with Federal government guidelines could lead to confusion that, in effect, undermines, rather than strengthens, national and international efforts to reduce and mitigate the risk of orbital debris.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here.

Read the 2020 letter here.