Misc: Swarm Tech CEO discusses launch without FCC license + Patricia Hynes and ISPCS 2018 + Reaction Engines building SABRE test facility

NewSpace Watch
September 10, 2018

Sara Spangelo, CEO of Swarm Technologies, finally broke the company’s silence on the launching of four SpaceBees picosats despite being turned down for a FCC license (see recent posting here) : CEO Says Launching Satellites Without FCC Permission Was a ‘Mistake’ – The Atlantic

“You know, looking back, I definitely am regretful and I view it as a mistake,” Spangelo told me in a recent interview. “I feel terrible for the confusion and the additional regulation that we may see come. It’s a very difficult situation, and we’ve done everything we can to resolve the issues to move forward positively.”

She says they went ahead with the launch because they expected the FCC to change the its decision:

But in the intervening months, Swarm had moved forward with launch preparations, hoping that the FCC would approve its license before liftoff, which was scheduled for January. Spangelo said she wanted to wait for the agency’s approval, even as the launch date neared.

“That was totally the intention,” she said. “We were still hopeful that we would get the application in time and be able to operate them.”

When I asked Spangelo why she didn’t stop the launch when the FCC denied Swarm’s application, she said, “Others have been granted applications after launching their satellites, so we were still hopeful at that point.”

All the press attention to the situation may force the FCC to apply a harsher penalty than it would otherwise because it will need to use Swarm to make an example of what happens when a company disregards the agency’s decisions.


The Space Show – Tue, 09/04/2018 – 19:00Dr. Patricia Hynes talked about the upcoming International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS 2018) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, on October 10-11. She discussed the “the Tipping Point theme, key speakers, topics, commercial space support, space policy, trends and more”.

Listen to the audio (mp3).


Reaction Engines has built a facility in Oxfordshire for testing the SABRE engine technology. Here is a time lapse video of the construction:

This animation shows how the facility will look and operate when it goes online in 2020:


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