As satellites and space junk proliferate, U.S. to revise rules

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -With Earth's orbit growing more crowded with satellites, a U.S. government agency on Friday said it would begin revising decades-old rules on getting rid of space junk and on other issues such as satellite refueling and inspecting and repairing in-orbit spacecraft.

"We believe the new space age needs new rules," Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said after the 4-0 FCC vote, adding that current rules "were largely built for another era."

She said the FCC needs "to make sure our rules are prepared for the proliferation of satellites in orbit and new activities in our higher altitudes."

The FCC also plans to look at "new ways to clean up orbital debris. After all, there are thousands of metric tons of junk in space," Rosenworcel added. The FCC will look at "the potential for orbital debris remediation and removal functions that offer

the prospect of improvement in the orbital debris environment."