Getting the right licence to operate or communicate with a satellite service depends on how it is to be used within a space network. Up and down links to and from the satellite may be licensed via the ground segment or space segment of the network.
The most suitable option depends on the configuration of the satellite, or the satellite system, the nature of its use of Australian spectrum and the commercial preferences of the satellite operator or the service provider.
A radiocommunications licence may be issued to a satellite operator or service provider specifically to authorise transmissions (a space licence) or one may be issued specifically to authorise reception of transmissions (a space receive licence). Both of these are apparatus licences and provide licensing of the space segment.
When it is necessary or desirable to licence transponders on satellites to provide services in Australia , the satellite itself must be made subject to the Radiocommunications Act 1992. This is achieved by determining if it is either an Australian space object or a foreign space object.
Provided that the operation of a foreign satellite is authorised under a space licence, and a corresponding entry is made in the Radiocommunications (Foreign Space Objects) Determination 2000 , the operation of earth stations that communicate with the satellite is automatically authorised by the Radiocommunications (Communications with Space Objects) Class Licence 1998.
These arrangements efficiently support the operation of satellite systems that communicate with a large number of user terminals.