When India’s PSLV rocket launched a host of satellites into orbit in January, one big piece was missing: the Federal Communications Commission’s authorization for Swarm Technologies’ super-miniaturized satellites.
The FCC had nixed Swarm’s application on the grounds that the wallet-sized communications satellites, known as SpaceBEEs, were too small to be tracked properly. But Seattle-based Spaceflight, which had arranged for the launch, didn’t know that.
January’s unauthorized launch of the SpaceBEEs resulted in a regulatory slap for Swarm, and no small embarrassment for Spaceflight.
Curt Blake, the launch logistics company’s president, vows it won’t happen again.