Commerce Department Releases New Regulations to Support U.S. Leadership in Commercial Satellite Remote Sensing Industry

The U.S. Department of Commerce has released new regulations regarding the licensing process for private U.S. satellite remote sensing operations.

These new rules will eliminate most restrictions on how licensed remote sensing systems may be operated, such as limits on the resolution of imagery, and prohibit the government from imposing additional conditions after a license has been issued.

The new regulations require the U.S. government to assess the remote sensing data already planned or available in the market to determine whether any conditions should be applied to U.S. licensees.

The growing role of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and other advanced technologies in extracting unique information from remote sensing, are also recognised.

This is exemplified by understanding that the regulations will only apply to the remote sensing instrument and components that support its operation.

American industry is driving innovation in commercial remote sensing at an increasingly rapid rate. These streamlined and updated rules are critical to ensuring U.S. regulations keep up with the speed of innovation and ensure the United States remains the flag of choice for commercial space businesses.”said Scott Pace, Deputy Assistant to the President and Executive Secretary of the National Space Council.

The new rules are a result of extensive discussions with U.S. industry and other federal agencies, reflecting a greater understanding of the speed, direction, growing importance, and economic value of commercial remote sensing data.

The new regulations further advance the objectives in the Administration’s Space Policy Directive-2, “Streamlining Regulations on the Commercial Use of Space,” to improve the regulatory environment for U.S. commercial space activities.