Commercializing Landsat and the Weather Satellites

Published: Jan 1, 1985. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 1985.

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This article, which appeared in the GAO Review, Vol. 20, Issue 1, Winter 1985, discusses the transfer of Landsat, a civilian land remote sensing satellite, and other weather satellites to the private sector in order to develop a better market for the program. GAO found that satellite experts objected to the sale because the federal government is the main user of the satellites, and they feared that private satellite operators would charge exorbitant user fees. GAO held a seminar at an international satellite conference and found that foreign countries were concerned about their investments in ground stations under commercialization. Foreign users were also concerned about the continuity and equal distribution of data under private sector satellite management. In preparation for 1984 legislation, GAO also reviewed the costs and uses of remote sensing satellite commercialization and the national security implications of the sale.

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