May 17, 2023

Senator Schmitt, Senator Hickenlooper Introduce Bipartisan Launch Communications Act 

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Eric Schmitt and Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO) introduced the Launch Communications Act in order to ensure the United States remains the global leader in space: 

“Space is the final frontier—the current FCC process for launching rockets is outdated and in need of modernization. The Launch Communications Act eliminates the mountain of paperwork currently required by commercial companies in order to obtain FCC spectrum licenses. This bill aims to improve interagency coordination while still maintaining the critical aspect of oversight,” said Senator Eric Schmitt. “If we want to remain ahead of China in space, we must be innovative and avoid hindering ourselves with outdated regulations and overly complex practices. I’m proud to join Senator Hickenlooper on this common-sense bill that will solidify the United States standing as the international leader in space.”

“Our leadership in space is powered by innovation, and we shouldn’t stifle it with red tape. Modernizing spectrum licensing will help our commercial space industry reach new heights,” said Senator John Hickenlooper.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, and The United Launch Alliance have expressed support for the Launch Communications Act.


·       The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) current process for licensing spectrum for commercial space launches was created decades ago when there were very few commercial space launches.

·       As our presence in space expands, the FCC needs to modernize the spectrum licensing process for commercial space launches to ensure the U.S. remains the global leader in space and to address growing threats from China

o   The FCC’s licensing rules have not kept pace with the growing demand for commercial space launches that support scientific, economic, and national security objectives

o   Commercial space launch providers currently need to file individual spectrum licensing applications with the FCC for every single launch

·       The Launch Communications Act provides an immediate solution to resolve current challenges in the FCC’s licensing process by:

o   Requiring the FCC to allocate temporary spectrum access for commercial space launch and reentry activities on a secondary basis within the following frequency bands if approved:

§  2025-2210 MHz, 2200-2290 MHz, 2360-2395 MHz.

o   Allowing launch providers to bundle spectrum applications for multiple similar launches in order to streamline the application process and decrease the administrative burden on providers and the FCC.

o   Instructing the FCC to create an automated process to review applications instead of the current manual review process which has resulted in a ground stop of critical space launches in past cases of government shutdowns when applications cannot be processed.

o   Requiring the FCC to issue new regulations to improve coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to speed up the authorization process.

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