Online calculator helps startups decipher U.S. regulations

Online calculator helps startups decipher U.S. regulations

SAN FRANCISCO – Aegis Space Law has introduced a free online calculator to aid U.S. companies in navigating the intricate regulatory environment.

Launched on June 4, the Space Regulatory Calculator is intended to assist early-stage space firms in adhering to regulations set by the Commerce Department, Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Communications Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and State Department.

“Aegis collaborates with numerous space startups,” Bailey Reichelt, partner and co-founder of Aegis Space Law, shared with SpaceNews via email. “The common issue is that these startups overlook regulatory planning until they have addressed engineering and financing. Unfortunately, regulatory timelines often surpass other timelines in length.”

Reichelt, who developed the Space Regulatory Calculator alongside Aegis partner Will Lewis, emphasized that founders should consider regulatory approval early in the design and fundraising stages “to optimize the chances of their business succeeding.”

Avoiding Expensive Errors
Neglecting regulatory considerations early can result in costly and time-consuming errors. For instance, a satellite company might choose a foreign antenna array for its cost and ground-station compatibility without realizing that its operating frequency would entail “a lengthy and expensive regulatory burden,” Reichelt explained.

Additionally, Federal Acquisition Regulations tied to existing contracts sometimes prohibit foreign-sourced components.

“These setbacks frequently occur when regulations are not understood,” Reichelt said.

Legal Guidance
Historically, space companies have hired attorneys to identify applicable regulations. However, many new space firms cannot afford “the sophisticated legal advice needed to navigate this many agencies,” Reichelt noted. “This leaves companies prone to mistakes that can consume time and money,” potentially jeopardizing the firm’s viability or mission.

“It’s entirely unreasonable for a company with no cash flow to spend tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers before they even have paid employees,” Reichelt added. “To ensure the success of the space industry and maintain U.S. leadership in global technological innovation, we must reduce legal and regulatory obstacles across the board.”

The Space Regulatory Calculator helps startups identify necessary licenses and permits, estimate approval timelines, and predict compliance costs.

“For example, a small business planning its first satellite launch would learn that it might need to plan at least two years in advance to secure the required licenses before launch,” the news release stated.

Aegis attorneys will keep the Space Regulatory Calculator updated as regulations evolve.

Washington-based Aegis Space Law attorneys also contributed to founding the nonprofit Association of Commercial Space Professionals and teach at the Association’s Space Regulatory Bootcamp.

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