The once an orbital separation between two satellite frequencies

The demand for satellite based telecommunication
services increased in the past 25 years, and so has the demand for frequency
spectrum usage.i
Where there was once an orbital separation between two satellite frequencies of
over 3 degrees, many satellites are now operating at a less than 2 degrees
separation, thus increasing the risk of interference between the two
frequencies.ii
The orbital resources of the GSO have become more and more saturated, almost
reaching the value of “prime real estate”iii,
its scarce nature triggering a race amongst States to obtain a spot on orbit.
Due to the “first-come, first-served” system of allocation of the ITUiv,
States which do not have a chance in the near future to send a satellite of
their own into outer space, have turned to a method of reserving a spot in the
GSO, in the hope that it will be brought into use in the future. As the
practice of advanced filing blocks the orbital slot without effectively using
it, such a practice infringes both the provisions of the Outer Space Treatyv
herein after: OST and of the ITU Radio Regulationsvi
herein after: RR. These satellites, that are to take their spot in orbit,
usually never materialize; they remain only as a request on paper, and thus
their name “paper satellites”.vii

i The “massive overfilling is due to a number of
factors including the realization of the growing economic value of the scarce
spectrum and orbital resource”, Scrambling for Space in Space, ITU
Plenipotentiary to Tackle ‘Paper Satellite’ Problem, ITU Press Release, 16
September 2002, .

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ii Committee on
the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Scientific and Technical Subcommittee,
Forty-ninth session, Actual situation in the Geostationary Orbit, 6-17 February
2012, A/AC.105/C.1/2012/CRP.25; List of Satellites in Geostationary Orbit, ;
Paper Satellites: A Puzzle for the Industry, Satellite Today, 10 January 2010,
.

iiiPaper Tigers:
The Scramble for Space Spectrum, ITU PP-02 Newsroom, .

ivPresentation at
the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau Workshop on the Efficient Use of the
Spectrum/Orbit Resource, Geneva, 6 May 2009, The International
Telecommunication Union .

vTreaty on Principles
Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space,
Including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 27 January 1967, 18 U.S.T. 2410,
T.I.A.S. No. 6347, 610 U.N.T.S. 205.

viITU Radio
Regulations, 2012 edition .

vii There is an
opinion that the name paper satellites is not the most appropriate one as the
situation of a satellite which is waiting to be allocated a slot is similar to
that of a ‘paper satellite’. Paper Satellites: A Puzzle for the Industry,
Satellite Today, 10 January 2010, .