Practices  |  Telecom, Media & Technology

Space and Satellite

Overview

Wiley Rein’s Space and Satellite Team regularly counsels established and emerging global satellite operators, communications service providers, launch providers, spacecraft and equipment manufacturers, industry associations, and U.S. and foreign investors in structuring and implementing space and satellite projects around the world. Chaired by Jennifer D. Hindin, our team of attorneys and engineers advise on domestic and international regulatory, policy, and transactional matters related to the licensing and operation of space stations and earth stations. We routinely practice before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the U.S. Congress, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The Wiley Rein Space and Satellite Group provides regulatory advice and has obtained licenses for a wide range of satellite communications services, including:

  • Direct broadcast satellite (DBS): We represent one of two U.S. providers of direct-to-home television before the FCC on satellite licensing matters.
  • Fixed satellite service (FSS): Wiley Rein provides day-to-day regulatory advice to one of the largest global FSS operators, including securing and modifying FCC satellite licenses as necessary to fulfill business needs.
  • Mobile satellite service (MSS): We secured authority for a global MSS provider to access additional worldwide spectrum and are advising on regulatory matters for licensing its next-generation satellite system.
  • Satellite radio service: Our attorneys obtained spectrum rights and a U.S. license for our client to offer satellite radio service.
  • Aeronautical and mobile: The Wiley Rein Space and Satellite Group helps clients obtain aeronautical and other mobile earth station authorizations for the provision of two-way broadband Internet service onboard aircraft and other vessels.
  • Imaging and remote sensing: We obtain approvals and navigate national security concerns associated with spacecraft capable of imaging and remote-sensing the Earth or other space objects.
  • Broadband Internet access: We helped a client obtain one of the first approvals from the FCC for the provision of broadband Internet access service from a constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites.

Wiley Rein helps ensure our clients’ satellite and earth station operations comply with FCC regulatory and technical requirements. We routinely work with engineers to develop persuasive technical presentations for regulators and policy decision-makers. As part of this process, our experience includes advising clients on:

  • FCC rulemaking proceedings affecting spectrum rights and service rules for the provision of satellite services in the United States;
  • First-come, first-served geostationary satellite orbit (GSO) applications;
  • Processing rounds for non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) constellation licenses;
  • Orbital debris mitigation, space safety, NASA casualty risk assessment, and End-of-Life maneuvers;
  • Milestone and bond compliance;
  • Spectrum coordination and sharing;
  • Network outage, E911, and other required reports;
  • National security, cross-jurisdictional regulation, and foreign ownership;
  • NOAA’s requirements for administrative and operational control and foreign agreements;
  • Law enforcement and privacy restrictions for access to data;
  • Replacement expectancy and license renewals; and
  • Small satellite and CubeSat issues.

Our Space and Satellite Group attorneys also have experience securing international satellite spectrum rights. In this role, we have:

  • Served as delegates to World Radiocommunication Conferences (WRC).
  • Assisted a government in understanding, negotiating, and securing international orbital slot priority for a new satellite.
  • Completed successfully the ITU’s advance publication, coordination, and registration process.
  • Supported satellite network coordination.

Our Space and Satellite Group also assists clients with strategic planning for transactions, investments, and mergers involving satellite communications companies. For example, we:

  • Routinely monitor and keep our clients apprised of satellite communications and spectrum matters pending before the FCC, Congress, and the ITU;
  • Assist with regulatory due diligence of satellite service providers, including those with terrestrial expansion rights;
  • Secure FCC approval for transfers of control, assignments, and mergers involving satellite system licensees; and
  • Work on public and private equity transactions.

Contact Us

Jennifer D. Hindin
202.719.4975 | jhindin@wileyrein.com

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