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Spaceport America Says It Won’t Happen Again

The launch complex acknowledges the FCC letter about unlicensed FM signals

Spaceport America says those unlicensed FM broadcasts that drew a warning from the FCC won’t be heard again without proper authorization.

As we reported, the commercial launch complex recently received a notice of illegal pirate broadcasting from the commission about a pirate radio station heard on its property last year.

The organization issued a statement from Executive Director Scott McLaughlin: “A past Spaceport America customer used unauthorized frequencies for transmission while operating on-site. The low-power FM system (with a range of only a few miles) will not be in use again at the spaceport without proper authorization.”

He said the organization is tightening its customer operations screening process “to ensure this does not happen in the future.” According to the FCC the unlicensed signals were heard during the Spaceport America Cup 2022 event, an inter-collegiate rocket engineering conference and competition.

The New Mexico State Land Office, owner of the land used by the complex, also received the FCC letter.

“We were notified yesterday by the FCC that they had issued a preliminary notice of suspected violation to Spaceport for unauthorized use of radio frequencies last summer at a rocket launch competition for students that Spaceport hosts every year,” wrote Tarin Nix, deputy commission of public affairs, in an email to Radio World. “Our general counsel has been in touch with FCC and our lessee to ensure this issue doesn’t happen at future events.”