Space is an increasingly busy place, and the FCC released an order that will create the Space Bureau and Office of International Affairs to keep pace with those changes. The Space Bureau and Office of International Affairs will replace the International Bureau and incorporate its staff.

The FCC says that the reorganization will support the needs of the satellite industry, promote technical capacity and keep abreast of policy. It is a further step in an ongoing initiative to confront space-related issues. The FCC has increased the size of the satellite division by 38%, created what it says are new competitive opportunities, modernized spectrum policy and adopted rules for deorbiting satellites in an effort to reduce debris risks. 

“The satellite industry is growing at a record pace, but here on the ground our regulatory frameworks for licensing have not kept up. We’re working to change that. Today, we are moving forward with our plan to prepare for what comes next,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release. “A new Space Bureau at the FCC will ensure that the agency’s resources are appropriately aligned to fulfill its statutory obligations, improve its coordination across the federal government, and support the 21st century satellite industry.”

The next steps are to seek Congressional and other approvals and make formal notice in the Federal Register.

The proliferation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites are behind the traffic jams in space. As the name implies, these satellites are much closer to earth. That enables latency-sensitive applications. However, many more are needed to provide ubiquitous coverage. Several projects – from SpaceX, Iridium, Google (Kuiper), OneWeb and Telesat – each will depend on large numbers of satellites.

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