Satellite and Space Projects Newsletter June 2024 | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content

Satellite and Space Projects Newsletter June 2024

John Worthy


United Kingdom

UK issues Space Regulatory Review: The UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has issued the Space Regulatory Review 2024 (, looking at emerging areas where action is needed to maintain an "innovative, attractive and competitive regulatory environment" for the UK space sector. 

The review team comprised members from DSIT, the UK Space Agency, Department for Business and Trade and the Department for Transport together with UK space sector representatives.

Key conclusions include prioritising seven regulatory outcomes: Agility, Innovation, Growth, International Partnership, Safety and Sustainability, Accessibility, and National Interest. These outcomes are supported by seventeen recommendations to help delivery and promote growth, innovation, and investment within the UK, ensuring it retains a competitive edge in the space industry.

EU Council aims to boost Europe's competitiveness through space: The Council of the EU has adopted conclusions on "strengthening Europe's competitiveness through space", highlighting that the space sector is increasingly important for the EU's strategic autonomy. Released on 23 May 2024, the conclusions emphasise the increasing role played by space in many EU economic and social policies such as the Union's overall competitiveness and digital transition. Among the central features are the importance of profiting from the combination of space research and development investment, a stable and predictable business framework and developing a skilled workforce.

European Space Industry responds to EU Council Conclusions: The European Space Industry has issued a declaration in response to the Conclusions of the EU Council of 23 May. While industry praised the Council's recognition that space is valuable to the overall competitiveness of Europe, they expressed regret that challenges currently facing the European space sector were neither addressed nor assessed in the Conclusions. The declaration argued that the continent requires coordinated collaboration throughout the EU and ESA with a specific aim of creating key common principles for a future industrial strategy.  

Among the current threats, the analysis flagged the larger size of competitor institutional markets which are not accessible to non-domestic players and the disruption caused by SpaceX to the satellite industry. An effective European space industrial strategy should target the fragmentation of demand, the sector's dependence on critical technologies and systems as well as addressing the decrease in the industry's profitability.

Azercosmos introduces L-band satellite services: Azercosmos, the Azerbaijan satellite operator, has concluded a new partnership with Viasat to deliver L-band satellite services in Azerbaijan. Under the transaction announced on 23 May, the L-band services will provide connectivity to support sectors such as transport, energy, mining and agriculture. Fuad Aslanov, vice-chairman of Azercosmos, commented that the deal helps achieve the "boundless possibilities in connectivity in EMEA and Asia".

Arabsat forms two partnerships to expand managed services: Arabsat has signed separate deals with ST Engineering iDirect and neXat to expand its managed satellite services. The deal with ST Engineering iDirect will allow Arabsat to increase its coverage across diverse locations on its Arabsat BADR-7 and 6A broadband managed services by using the iDirect Hub infrastructure DCR/DBR. Arabsat CEO and President, Alhamedi Alanezi, highlighted that ST Engineering iDirect's technology will transform the lives of communities in the EMEA region through satellite connectivity.

The neXat deal enables Arabsat to automate many tasks using neXat's orchestration tool, benefiting areas such as VSAT terminal lifecycles, billing, and network monitoring and management.

UK Space Agency updates Corporate Plan: In the latest update to its 2022 Corporate Plan, the UK Space Agency (UKSA) has flagged refined priorities, alongside confirmation of existing objectives. Central themes include continued work towards the eight delivery priorities: launch, sustainability, discovery, Earth observation, inspiration, innovation, low Earth orbit capabilities and levelling-up. Among the key changes are plans to increase innovation through funding calls, engage target audiences (including children and young people) with 3 million hours of UKSA-supported activities, and to aid design and development of debris removal capabilities through competitions.

The update includes revised milestones and budgets, as the UK re-joined the EU Earth observation programme, Copernicus. The UKSA also announced the opening of a new HQ in Harwell as well as new UKSA offices in Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Leicester.

Europe commits to space debris charter: The European Space Agency (ESA), together with twelve European nations, has signed the Zero Debris Charter to confirm a shared commitment to space sustainability. Signatures from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK committed those nations to an effort to become space debris-neutral by 2030. After launching a satellite, nations must bring it back down to earth or de-orbit it once it has finished its lifecycle. France is yet to sign the agreement.

FCC proposes new rules to limit space debris: The chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Jessica Rosenworcel, has proposed rules to combat accidental explosions that result in space debris.

Under the proposed rules, applicants for satellite licences would have to limit the probability of accidental explosion to less than one in one thousand. This is a marked change from the FCC's current requirements which require applicants to affirm that they have effectively mitigated the risk of such explosions. This new rule aims to support a sustainable approach to future satellite launches. If approved by a majority of FCC Commissioners, this rule would take effect one year after being published in the Federal Register.

Related Work Areas