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FCC states that satellites out-of-service must be removed within 5 years.

A new rule by the US Federal Regulators Thursday requires satellites that have been retired from service to be removed far faster. It’s all to reduce the amount of garbage in Earth’s orbit.

According to the Federal Communications Commission’s new rule, unused satellites in low Earth orbit must be removed “as soon and as practical” and not later than five years after the end of their mission.

This is far shorter than the 25-year rule, which has been criticized for being too rigid. NASA recommended years ago that NASA reduce the 25-year timeline to five years.

“Twenty-five year is too long.” At Thursday’s meeting, Jessica Rosenworcel, FCC Chairwoman, stated that there is no reason to delay. The FCC rule was unanimously approved.

This rule is intended to prevent space junk from becoming dangerously abundant. There are currently more than 100,000,000 pieces of space junk that travel uncontrollably through orbit. They range in size from one penny to an entire rocket booster. Experts say that much of this debris is too small for them to track.

Space collisions have been seen before. Each collision can result in thousands of pieces of debris being thrown into space, which could cause more collisions. The “Kessler Syndrome” theory is a well-known theory that spaceborne junk can cause catastrophic chain reactions that could make future space exploration and satellite launches impossible.

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