Though there are limited and a handful of astronauts, every thousand of college students gets the opportunity to visits space vicariously. Students design and test each of their satellites and then go to work along with professionals of space industry to get them loaded on rockets. This opportunity is available to students for more than 30 years. As Federal Communications Commission is considering to increase communication licensing fees, it will reach beyond the limits of most of the students this opportunity may not be available to them.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is proposing a regulation, in which they will license some education satellite programs. And this proposal can force schools to pay US$135,350 annual fee – plus a $30,000 application fee for the starting first year if they wish to get a federal license which is required for a U.S organization to operate satellite communications.
This will lead to a dramatic increase in cost. A small satellite which is used most commonly in education is the U.S developed CubeSat. Each of CubeSat weighs near about 2-3 pounds. A working CubeSat is capable of taking pictures of the Earth which can further be designed for the only mission that can pay under $100 to the FCC for an experimental license.
Around the world, these CubeSat programs have been a good model for space education. CubeSat’s have given the opportunity to many students who are interested in engineering and space science to gain hands-on experience.
In recent few months, it has been correctly noted by the FCC that the US has continued to be the leader when it comes to many small satellites s launched and is always praised for programs related to small satellites.
Giving freedom to students to fail in small satellites projects have brought them with an opportunity to learn and take risks. This has helped the US to lead in satellite technology and also it has dramatically lowered the cost of commercial spacecraft. At present satellites are capable of serving a wide range of purpose. Be it tracking of a ship at sea, securing borders or anything.
All the Representative of aerospace companies, universities, the military, NASA, and others are preparing for the Augusts AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, which is popularly known as ‘SmallSat,’ i.e., focusing on small satellites missions of universities. As this event is approaching many researchers have written to FCC mentioning that this increase in annual fees will stop universities to launch satellites and work efficiently under these new rules.