In order to deliver emergency satellite texting via telephones, Apple today assigned a fee to its collaboration with satellite provider Globalstar. According to CNBC, it stated that it will spend $450 million with American businesses, the majority of which would go to its satellite partner Globalstar.
The money will be used to purchase satellites, ground station hardware, and an innovative antenna Apple developed.
At its annual event in September, Apple unveiled its new “Emergency SOS via Satellite” feature. Emergency satellite connectivity is a feature of the new iPhone 14 that enables it to send text messages to users in grave situations in remote locations without regular cellular coverage. This is not only irresponsible in terms of the space environment, but it creates collision hazards for operating satellites and problems with launching new constellations.
To properly oversee the expanding satellite business, Rosenworcel stated earlier this month that the FCC would be reorganized with a new Space Bureau.
She stated in her presentation of the new bureau: “Today, the FCC has applications for 64,000 additional satellites before it. 64,000.”
Regarding the orbital debris issue, the FCC has been exchanging arguments with the Congressional Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
The FCC unanimously decided to mandate that LEO satellite operators destroy their satellites within five years of the end of their missions in September. “The Commission is reducing the likelihood of debris-generating collisions that can pose serious risks to humans, other spacecraft, and our environment by shortening the amount of time that these deceased satellites remain in orbit,” she wrote in a letter to Congress.
However, the FCC’s authority has been contested by the Congressional committee. It stated that the orbital debris issue needed to be “handled fully and holistically” in a letter to Rosenworcel dated September 27. The FCC was urged to postpone its review of the subject after the committee expressed its worry over the FCC’s proposal to act unilaterally.
“The Commission’s ability to implement these regulations for commercial satellites has been well established for more than 20 years,” Rosenworcel said in a response on October 27. She also mentioned the 64,000 pending applications for new satellites that are now with the FCC. “Our choice guarantees that space safety is taken into account from the beginning and not as an afterthought.”
It’s interesting to note that while the U.S. struggles with the issue of space debris, it does not have control over space, according to some Twitter comments.
Over a number of decades, NASA has coordinated with other space organizations internationally to develop rules for mitigating space debris. However, it’s not obvious whether NASA or the American government has any meaningful influence over private corporations abroad.