Landsat Policy Issues Still Unresolved

PSAD-78-58: Published: Apr 17, 1978. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1978.

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Landsat is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration experimental project to determine the usefulness of satellite-acquired data for managing the Earth's environment and natural resources.

Although the project has been going on since 1970 and will extend into the 1980's at costs which will exceed $650 million, there is no clear statement of government policy regarding support of an operational system. Development of such a policy will require consideration of complex technical, political, economic, institutional, and international issues. The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has considered some technical and funding issues relating to Landsat-D and is planning to form a cabinet level policy group to study broader issues. Legislative proposals for operational systems include establishment of an Earth Resources and Environmental Information System which would broaden the government's role in remote sensing technology. Before such a commitment is taken, studies of issues involved should be undertaken.

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