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U.S. agency adopts new space junk rules to reduce exploration risks

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 4-0 Thursday on to adopt new rules to address growing risks of orbital debris to space exploration by shrinking the time to remove defunct satellites.

The FCC voted to require post-mission disposal of low-Earth orbit satellites within five years. The agency previously recommended operators of satellites in low-Earth orbit ensure spacecraft re-enter Earth’s atmosphere within 25 years.

“It will mean more accountability and less risk of collisions that increase orbital debris and the likelihood of space communication failures,” FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said.

The U.S. telecommunications regulator noted that of 10,000 satellites deployed since 1957 more than half are no longer working. NBC News

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