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FCC: Startup Sent Rogue Satellites Into Space in 'Unauthorized Launch'

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The Federal Communications Commission is reportedly reviewing the “apparent unauthorized launch” of four satellites into space—the first ever rogue launch of commercial satellites. A Silicon Valley startup called Swarm Technologies has been accused of conducting the launch earlier this year, and the FCC has now warned the company its satellites may pose a collision risk for other spacecraft orbiting the Earth. The startup’s four small satellites—SpaceBee-1, 2, 3, and 4—were apparently piggybacked onto a rocket that blasted off from India’s east coast along with approved cargo on Jan. 12, IEEE Spectrum reports. Part of a new space-based Internet of Things communications network, the experimental satellites were the subject of a rejected FCC application just a few weeks before the launch, and the FCC has just revoked Swarm’s authorization for a follow-up mission in light of the rogue launch. Swarm was preparing for a large market trial of its system with two Fortune 100 companies, plans that now appear to be in jeopardy.

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