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Space & Satellite Regulatory Colloquium

October 24, 2013
Tom Tshudy


Space & Sateliite Regulatory Colloquium

Held on October 24th, 2013 at the Jones Day offices in Washington, DC, the second annual Space and Satellite Regulatory Colloquium focused on emerging space law and regulatory issues.  Well attended by many in the space law field, the topics ranged from legal and regulatory issues affecting spectrum availability, hosted payloads, ITAR requirements to overall space law and policy.

Launch Panel

Senior Vice President and General Counsel of International Launch Services (ILS), Tom Tshudy,  was a speaker on the launch panel.  He was joined by other industry representatives from various sectors. The launch panel discussions focused on the future of the industry in terms of regulation and potential consolidation.

Industry Regulations

Tshudy spoke to the fact that the heritage and capability of the Proton vehicle is well understood.  ILS has not faced any ITAR related issues that have caused launch delays of any satellite in over 20 years of business and over 80 commercial launches. ILS works with ITAR policies seamlessly and has an excellent relationship with DTSA.

ILS also has a well-demonstrated history of launching hosted and dual use payloads including payloads for international government or military purposes. Including Intelsat 22—UHF Payload for Australian Defence Force, Yahsat 1B—Dual use payload for UAE Air Force, SES-5—EGNOS application for the European Commission as well as Turksat 4A for MELCO scheduled for launch in 2014 with a dual use payload for the Turkish Government. 

Consolidation in the Launch Industry

Ultimately, the market will drive the future of the industry in terms of the number of launchers.  Operators claim the need for additional providers for two reasons, launch availability and lower cost to orbit. 

While various players have joined the industry it remains that two primary providers launch the majority of the spacecraft.  Over the last three years, ILS and Arianespace have launched 30 of the 35 commercial launches. So, despite peaked demand, the market has been served by two launchers. And while ILS maintains a strong backlog of 15 missions they have availability to accommodate additional launches in the 2015-16 timeframe.

With regards to the second reason, while it is true that having additional suppliers may lead to lower prices, the question remains whether the demand in the commercial sector is enough to sustain additional launch providers. In addition to the commercial launch industry, having government support is crucial to ensuring a viable launch business. In other efforts to reduce launch costs, ILS’ heavy lift capability can provide a very attractive solution by launching two stacked spacecraft in a single launch. For Proton, this reduces the launch cost of each by as much as 50 percent (over a dedicated launch).

Tom Tshudy

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