Legality of ISM from space

Can ISM frequencies be used from space without license?

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I don’t know how such things work from a legal/licensing/coordination perspective, but I would expect that as long as the equipment fulfills the technical requirements under which it can qualify as unlicensed (frequency, radiated power, bandwidth), I don’t see why it would matter where it is located.

I guess the issue is that ISM bands are not consistent worldwide. In the simplest case, where a spacecraft needs to maintain compliance with whatever country it is over, then it will need functioning onboard positioning to geofence appropriately.

In a more complex situation, a spacecraft may have countries within different regulations within its footprint. (Not sure this is the case, it’s usually region-based, but might happen).

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Slide 7 in seems to suggest that it is not allowed to use the ISM band from space.

I am not entirely sure though, since I don’t understand why the ism band would not be allowed for “telecommunications” - the ism is used for terrestrial telecommunications all the time. And I don’t understand the references to “nos. 4.4 and 15.13”. Are these ITU articles? If so, I don’t see how there sections are applicable; the text in them don’t seem very relevant.

4.4 Administrations of the Member States shall not assign to a station any frequency in derogation of either the Table of Frequency Allocations in this Chapter or the other provisions of these Regulations, except on the express condition that such a station, when using such a frequency assignment, shall not cause harmful interference to, and shall not claim protection from harmful interference caused by, a station operating in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Convention and these Regulations.


15.13 § 9 Administrations shall take all practicable and necessary steps to ensure that radiation from equipment used for industrial, scientific and medical applications is minimal and that, outside the bands designated for use by this equipment, radiation from such equipment is at a level that does not cause harmful interference to a radiocommunication service and, in particular, to a radionavigation or any other safety service operating in accordance with the provisions of these Regulations1.