The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that French satellite company Kinéis has been granted permission to offer satellite services in the U.S. market. The company’s application proposed a constellation of 25 small, low-Earth orbit satellites that would provide connectivity for Internet of Things (IoT) devices and enhance the monitoring of maritime communication.
Specifically, Kinéis petitioned the FCC “for access to the U.S. market using frequencies of the nonvoice, non-geostationary (NVNG) mobile-satellite service (MSS) and earth exploration satellite service (EESS) through a constellation of satellites that will be authorized by France.” The FCC’s Order and Declaratory Ruling is set to facilitate Kinéis’s efforts to develop a IoT device satellite system. Specifically, it grants Kinéis market access to certain MHz uplink bands, and a downlink band, conditioned on certain requirements including the outcome of future FCC deliberations, like a pending orbital debris proceeding.
As for maritime monitoring, five of Kinéis’s satellites will actively monitor certain signals in the 156.7625-162.0375 MHz band transmitted by stations in the maritime service. The Kinéis system will also aid the implementation of the next generation Argos data collection system, an extant worldwide network of data collection satellites cooperatively managed by France’s space agency, CNES, along with National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Though Kinéis submitted a detailed description of its orbital debris mitigation plan covering all of its proposed satellites, the FCC requested a number of clarifications concerning “the number of satellites and collision risk, the reliability of deployment and collision risk for a satellite that does not deploy correctly, and Kinéis’s timeframe for submitting final orbital debris information.” Because the application process is still underway, last week’s approval is subject to modifications to the orbital debris mitigation plan responsive to the agency’s concerns, the order said.