Spectrum Rights in Outer Space: Interference Management for Mega-constellations

Published at SSRN, August 2, 2022
Authored by: Randall Berry (Northwestern University), Pedro Bustamante (University of Pittsburgh – School of Information Sciences, Students; Carnegie Mellon University), Dongning Guo (Northwestern University), Thomas W. Hazlett (Clemson University), Michael Honig (Northwestern University), Whitney Lohmeyer (Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering), Ilia Murtazashvili (University of Pittsburgh – Graduate School of Public and International Affairs), Scott Palo (University of Colorado), Martin B. H. Weiss (University of Pittsburgh – School of Computing and Information)

Abstract (brief): The rapid increase in low earth orbiting, non-Geostationary (NGSO) communication satellites raises concerns related to the coordination of radio frequency access across competing NGSO systems. Responding to an April 2020 petition by SpaceX, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking NPRM (FCC 21-123) aimed at updating its NGSO spectrum sharing rules in the relevant frequencies (which involve ten distinct bands between 10 and 51 GHz).2 In this paper, we examine the rights regime proposed by the FCC and, guided by empirical evidence, propose alternatives that may better resolve the challenges confronted. Spectrum policy for satellite systems has been a topic for regulators for several decades, and the new satellite system, radio technologies, and spectrum sharing approaches make the topic ripe for reconsideration. (Cont’d on publication.)

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4178793

Whitney Lohmeyer

Whitney Lohmeyer is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Olin College and a Research Affiliate at MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics. She leads the Olin Satellite + Spectrum Technology & Policy (OSSTP) Group, and manages and contributes to the field of satellite communications systems. She also works closely with industry to advise on end-to-end system design, antenna systems, RF power amplification, radiation tolerance and spectrum strategy. Whitney is passionate about enabling affordable Internet access in order to generate economic growth and improve healthcare and education. Whitney was the first engineer hired at OneWeb, a company launching hundreds of low earth orbit communications satellites to provide global broadband and bridge the digital divide. While at OneWeb, she held a variety of roles both technical and policy-focused. As a Systems Engineer, she designed the RF Link Budget, and worked on the end-to-end communications system design, focusing on the LTE waveform and the user terminal antenna. In addition, she actively contributed to policy reform at the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and United Nations (UN) International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and represented OneWeb on the U.S. Delegation to the 2015 World Radio Conference, the culmination of a three-year regulatory review cycle. Prior to joining the OneWeb team, she worked as a hardware engineer at Google, and spent time in technical roles at Inmarsat and NASA. Whitney received her Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 2015, and her M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 2013, both funded by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. She earned her B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from NC State University in 2011, as the only female in her class of approximately ninety students, and now currently serves on the board of North Carolina State University’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) Department. She has been invited to speak at a variety of events including NC State’s 2018 MAE Commencement Ceremony, the UN Women’s Gender Equality and Mainstreaming (GEM) The Internet of Women: Challenge or Opportunity? and the UN’s and ITU’s Women’s Leadership Workshop on Empowering Women in Radiocommunications Negotiations.


  • Satellite Communications
  • Wireless Communications
  • Satellite Systems
  • International Spectrum Policy
  • Principles of Wireless Communications

Frank Lind

I was born near Portland, Oregon. After attending high school in Seattle, I studied at the University of Washington, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 1994. I then joined the UW Geophysics Program and pursued studies leading to the Doctor of Philosophy in Geophysics in 1999. My work there focused on passive radar observations of the aurora borealis. Currently, I am a Research Engineer at MIT Haystack Observatory, where I develop and operate ground- and space-based radio science instrumentation.

My research focuses on radio science, advanced radar and radio arrays, space plasma physics, software radar, novel sensors and signal processing, and satellite instrumentation.

Jade Morton

Professor • Helen and Hubert Croft Professor • Director of CCAR

Focus Area:

Astrodynamics and Satellite Navigation; Remote Sensing, Earth and Space Sciences


PhD, Electrical Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, 1991
MS, Electrical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 1987
BS, Physics, Nanjing University, 1983

Professional Experience:

2019 – Present, Director, Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research, University of Colorado Boulder
2017 – Present, Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
2018 – 2019, Chair for Graduate Studies, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder
2014 – 2017, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University
2009 – 2014, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Miami University
2006 – 2009, Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Miami University
2000 – 2006, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Miami University
1991 – 1993, Post-doctoral Fellow, Space Physics Research Laboratories, The University of Michigan
1987 – 1991, Graduate Research Assistant, Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
1985 – 1987, Graduate Research Assistant, Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, Case Western Reserve University
1983 – 1985, Faculty, Physics Department, Nanjing University

Awards (Selected):

Faculty Research Award, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, 2021
Johannes Kepler Award, Institute of Navigation (ION), 2020
Richard B. Kershner Award, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, PLANS, 2020
Distinguished Lecturer, IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society, 2019-21
Distinguished Performance Award, Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department, University of Colorado Boulder, 2019
Fellow, Royal Institute of Navigation (2019)
Samuel M. Burka Award, Institute of Navigation (ION) (2016)
Best session paper, ION GPS/GNSS/GNSS+ Conference (2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2007, 2004)
GPS World Leadership Service Award, GPS World Magazine (2015)
Fellow, ION (2015)
Fellow, IEEE (2014)
Tan Chin Tuan Faculty Fellow, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2014)
First place team advisor, ION Autonomous Snowplow Competition (2014)
Distinguished Scholar, Miami University (2013)
Thurlow Award, ION (2013)
Woman’s Leadership Award, Miami University (2013)
Jennie Elder Suel Distinguished Woman of Color Award, Miami University (2013)
Best paper, Colloquium Sci. Fundamental Aspects Galileo Program (2013)
Best paper in track, IEEE/ION PLANS Conference (2012)
Best paper, IEEE NAECON (2011)
Outstanding Researcher, School of Eng. & Applied Sci., Miami University (2011, 2005)
Sigma Xi Researcher of the Year, Miami University (2009)
Teaching Excellence award, School of Engineering & Applied Sci., Miami University (2007)
National Research Council/AFOSR Summer Faculty Fellow (2004, 2003, 2002)
First place, Annual Graduate Research Exhibition, Penn State University (1990)

Research Interests:

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) receiver technology for navigation in challenging environments and for remote sensing of the ionosphere, atmosphere, and Earth’s surface.

Scott Palo

Focus Area

Remote Sensing, Earth, & Space Sciences
Vehicle Systems
Astrodynamics & Satellite Navigation


Ph.D., Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, 1994
M.S., Electrical Engineering, University of Colorado, 1990
B.S., Electrical and Computer Engineering, Clarkson University, 1987

Professional Experience

2013 – Present, Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado
2014 – 2017, Associate Dean for Research, College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado
2011 – 2014, Associate Chair for Undergraduate Affairs, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado
2008 – 2013, Associate Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado
2001 – 2008, Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering Sciences, University of Colorado
1995 – 1997, Postdoctoral Researcher, National Center for Atmospheric Research, High Altitude Observatory

Awards (selected)

Distinguished Engineering Alumni Award, College of Engineering and Applied Science (2019)
Distinguished Performance, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (2016)
Victor Charles Schelke Endowed Professor (2014)
Outstanding Service, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences (2014)
University of Colorado Emerging Leaders Program Fellow (2012)
Erskine Fellowship, University of Canterbury (2009)
NASA Group Achievement Award – TIMED mission (2008)
Dean’s Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty, University of Colorado (2007)
AIAA Rocky Mountain Section Educator of the Year (2007)
College of Engineering & Applied Science Dean’s Award for Outstanding Junior Faculty (2007)
NSF CAREER Award (2005)
Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award (2005)
Sigma Xi Northwest Regional Young Investigator (2004 & 2005)

Research Interests

Design, construction, deployment and operation of small satellite systems.  Remote sensing of the thermosphere and ionosphere.  Meteor radar design and operation.  Arctic and Antarctic UAS measurement systems.