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The Science

WASHINGTON — Satellite imaging companies are embracing long-awaited reforms to commercial remote sensing regulations, although one member of Congress doesn’t think the changes go far enough.

The Commerce Department, which regulates commercial remote sensing satellite systems through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, released a final rule revising commercial remote sensing regulations May 19. The final rule came a year after a draft version of the new regulations and months of interagency discussions.

A key aspect of the revised rules is that they judge systems based on their capabilities with respect to systems outside of NOAA’s jurisdiction, such as those licensed by other nations. Those with similar capabilities will be subject to a “bare minimum of conditions,” with those offering capabilities not otherwise available will face some additional rules.

The rule also eliminates any special requirements for systems like synthetic aperture radar (SAR), shortwave infrared or nighttime imaging, much to the relief of industry. One example is Umbra, which is developing a constellation of SAR satellites capable of producing imagery at a resolution of 25 centimeters.

“We are thrilled to see a final rule that will be infinitely more accommodating to SAR, and will remove arbitrary restrictions on spatial resolution,” David Langan, chief executive of Umbra, told SpaceNews.

Categories: Articole de interes general

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