While pirate radio operators haven’t found their way to space yet, they found the next closest place to get caught: a spaceport. The FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is conducting an investigation into an unlicensed FM broadcast station operating on frequencies 95.3 MHz and 96.3 MHz at the Spaceport America property in New Mexico.
Spaceport America is the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, opened in 2011, and has since hosted a number of launches, including the first commercial suborbital flight by Virgin Galactic in 2018. The spaceport is also home to the Spaceport America Cup, the world’s largest intercollegiate rocketry competition.
The property is owned by the New Mexico State Land Office, and does not hold a license to broadcast on either frequency. The signals were reported during the Spaceport America Cup 2022. FCC agents have determined that exceptions for low-powered devices do not apply in this case, potentially constituting a violation of the Communications Act of 1934.