September 29, 2022

FCC Adopts ‘5-Year Rule’ for Deorbiting Satellites

12U CubeSat Dragsail Deorbiting

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a rule requiring satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) to deorbit within 5 years post-mission. The “5-year rule” updates a previous 25-year deorbit guideline that was mandated by the FCC.

Thousands of projected satellite launches over the next decade and increasing concerns regarding the threat posed by orbital debris, led the FCC to take this step toward protecting the sustainability of high-value orbits.

Taking effect in two years, this new rule requires spacecraft operating at orbit altitudes of 2,000 kilometers or less to deorbit as soon as practicable, and no more than five years after the end of their mission. This applies to both U.S. satellites, as well as international satellites seeking U.S. market access.

Vestigo Aerospace is committed to the sustainability of low Earth orbit. Vestigo's Spinnaker product line of dragsails enables passive deorbit of space vehicles, targeted re-entry, and compliance with FCC regulations.

If you’re interested in learning more about Spinnaker dragsails, contact