In what could be the first ever recorded unauthorized launch of a commercial satellite, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is investigating a startup company that may have launched several small satellites without receiving proper authorization.

Swarm Technologies, a California-based satellite manufacturer, is accused of launching four satellites into orbit without first receiving permission from federal regulators. If it is determined that Swarm did in fact launch its satellites, the company will likely face harsh penalties from the government.

According to IEEE Spectrum, Swarm on Jan. 12 allegedly launched its four satellites into space. The satellites were believed to be on board a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket that launched from the eastern coast of India.

The primary cargo on the rocket was a large Indian mapping satellite, but also on board were SpaceBee-1, 2, 3, and 4 — four small satellites described to the Indian government as “two-way satellite communications and data relay” devices, according to government documents.

If those four satellites do belong to Swarm as is believed to be the case, the company could face new scrutiny from federal regulators who had previously turned down the company’s attempts to launch its technology.

In December, the FCC dismissed “without prejudice” Swarm’s application to launch its experimental satellites, citing safety concerns. According to the FCC, the satellites were below the size threshold required for satellites. Because it is undersized, the satellite becomes harder to track and could pose a collision threat.

Earlier this month, the FCC sent Swarm a letter informing the startup that its authorization for a follow-up launch that would have put four more satellites into orbit next month had been revoked.

Within the letter, the FCC notes that it is investigating “the impact of the applicant’s apparent unauthorized launch and operation of four satellites...on its qualifications to be a Commission licensee.” The letter is the first indication that the FCC believes Swarm may have worked around the regulator in order to launch its satellites into orbit.

Swarm, founded by former NASA and Google researcher Sara Spangelo in 2016, is still operating in “stealth mode”— operating in secret and without much of a public face until the company is officially ready to reveal its product.

The company has reportedly been working on building satellite communications technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT)—connected devices that communicate with one another via the internet. Swarm’s satellites would help to provide internet connectivity for such devices in regions where internet service is sparse.

While the FCC’s decision to delay Swarm’s initial launch likely set the company behind schedule and may have hurt its prospects to secure investment, the decision to launch without permission may ground the company for good. The FCC may now revoke the company's license and render it entirely unable to test its communication technology.