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Abstract

American firms have begun to operate their own imaging satellite systems, aiming to become an important part of the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry. To succeed over the long run, these new U.S. commercial remote sensing satellite firms need a combination of reliable technologies, government policies that encourage U.S. industry competitiveness, a strong international presence, and sound business plans to ensure their competitiveness in both the domestic and international marketplaces. The greatest risks for the these firms come from the challenge of transforming themselves from imagery data providers to strong competitors as information age companies; the need to master the technical risks of building and operating sophisticated imaging satellite systems; and the requirement to operate effectively in a complex international business environment. In addition, the government's policymaking process has yet to achieve the degree of predictability, timeliness, and transparency that the firms need if they are expected to operate effectively in a highly competitive and rapidly changing global marketplace. The authors conclude with six recommendations that the U.S. Department of Commerce should adopt to best fulfill its responsibilities for promoting the U.S. commercial remote sensing industry and for encouraging the competitiveness of new private imaging satellite firms.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Technical Factors

  • Chapter Three

    Market Developments

  • Chapter Four

    International Context: Competition and Cooperation

  • Chapter Five

    Policy and Regulatory Issues

  • Chapter Six

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Emerging U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Satellite Firms: An Overview

  • Appendix B

    Title II of the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992

  • Appendix C

    U.S. Statement on Foreign Access to Remote Sensing Space Capabilities

  • Appendix D

    GIS and Geospatial Technologies Merging into Broader IT Marketplace

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

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