Summary: H.R.6133 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.6133. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (10/05/1992)

Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 - Repeals the Land Remote-Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984.

Title I: Landsat - Makes the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA Administrator) and the Secretary of Defense jointly responsible for management of the Landsat program. (Currently such program is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce.) Requires establishment of an integrated program management structure for the Landsat system. Directs the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Defense, and any other Federal official the President designates as responsible for part of the Landsat system, to establish through a management plan the roles, responsibilities, and funding expectations for the Landsat program of the appropriate Federal agencies.

Requires the management plan to specify that the fundamental goal of Landsat Program Management (LPM) is continuity of unenhanced Landsat data through acquisition and opearation of a Landsat 7 satellite, as quickly as possible, which is at least functionally equivalent to the Landsat 6 satellite, with the addition of a tracking and data relay satellite communications capability.

Requires the management plan to include a baseline funding profile and to specify that any improvements over Landsat 6 capability be funded by a specific sponsoring agency if the required funding exceeds such profile. Requires the plan to provide for a technology demonstration program.

Sets forth LPM responsibilities for various functions, including authority to contract.

Establishes a Landsat advisory process and LPM reporting requirements.

Requires LPM to contract expeditiously with a U.S. private sector entity to develop and deliver Landsat 7 (subject to appropriations and only under the existing contract authority of the Federal Agencies that compose LPM). Sets forth development and delivery considerations for LPM in negotiating such contract. Requires LPM to notify the Congress promptly of any significant cost or schedule changes. Requires LPM to take into account the location of operations, assets, personnel, and other such factors in defining "U.S. private sector entities."

Directs LPM to negotiate with the Landsat 6 contractor to formalize a specified arrangement and provide for a phased transition to a data policy consistent with Landsat 7 data policy. Requires a report to the Congress if there is failure to reach an agreement, by September 30, 1993.

Transfers to LPM the responsibilities of the Secretary of Commerce with respect to Landsat 6, as agreed to by such Secretary and LPM.

Directs LPM to develop a data policy for Landsat 7 which ensures: (1) availability of unenhanced data to all users at the cost of fulfilling user requests; (2) timely and dependable delivery of unenhanced data to the full spectrum of civilian, national security, commercial, and foreign users and the National Satellite Land Remote Sensing Data Archive; (3) U.S. retention of ownership of all unenhanced data generated by Landsat 7; (4) support for developing the commercial market for remote sensing data; (5) retention of commercial value-added services based on remote sensing data as an exclusively private sector function; and (6) compatibility, as much as possible, of the Landsat 7 data distribution system with the Earth Observing System Data and Information System. Allows such data policy also to provide for: (1) U.S. private sector entity operation of ground receiving stations in the United States for Landsat 7 data; (2) other means for direct access by private sector entities to unenhanced data from Landsat 7; and (3) the charging of U.S. Government fees to entities operating ground receiving stations or distributing Landsat 7 data. Requires LPM to report to the Congress a Landsat 7 Data Policy Plan by July 15, 1994.

Title II: Licensing of Private Remote Sensing Space Systems - Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce (the Secretary, for purposes of this title) to license private sector parties to operate private remote sensing space systems for such period as the Secretary may specify. Limits the Secretary's authority under this title to remote sensing operations only of any private space systems used for those and other purposes.

Requires, before a license may be granted, the Secretary to determine in writing that the applicant will comply with requirements of and regulations under this Act, and any applicable U.S. international obligations and national security concerns. Sets deadlines for the Secretary's actions on applications. Prohibits the Secretary from denying a license in order to protect any existing licensee from competition. Directs the Secretary to designate in the licence any unenhanced data which the licensee is required to provide.

Requires such licenses for operation of any private remote sensing space system by any persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction or control or by their subsidiaries or affiliates.

Provides that such licenses require a licensee to comply with this Act and with specified requirements relating to national security, international obligations, availability of unenhanced data (both to governments with respect to their territory and to users on a nondiscriminatory basis), disposition of satellites, information on orbit and data collection and deviation, and notification about any intended agreement involving foreign nations or entities. Sets forth additional licensing requirements for Landsat 6 contractors, including notification and compliance plans with respect to any value added activities.

Sets forth the administrative authority and the regulatory authority of the Secretary with respect to this title.

Provides for licensing private entities to operate private remote sensing space systems which use, on a space-available basis, civilian U.S. Government space satellites or vehicles as platforms. Authorizes the Secretary to license such system if: (1) the operator agrees to reimburse the Government for all related costs, including a share of fixed, platform, data transmission, and launch costs; and (2) the use would not interfere with or compromise intended civilian Government missions.

Title III: Research, Development and Demonstration - Directs the NASA Administrator and the Secretary of Defense to continue and enhance remote sensing research and development programs.

Authorizes the NASA Administrator to conduct experimental space remote sensing programs.

Authorizes the Secretaries of Agriculture and of the Interior to research and develop applications of remote sensing to the management and use of renewable and nonrenewable resources of the United States.

Requires all unenhanced land remote sensing data gathered and owned by the U.S. Government to be made available to users in a timely fashion. Directs the President to seek to ensure that unenhanced data gathered under the technology demonstration program are made available on terms that would not adversely affect the commercial market for unenhanced data gathered by the Landsat 6 spacecraft.

Directs the President to establish a technology demonstration program, through appropriate U.S. Government agencies, as a fundamental component of a national land remote sensing strategy. Requires such program to seek to launch advanced land remote sensing system components within five years after enactment of this Act and to demonstrate, within such period: (1) advanced sensor capabilities suitable for use in the anticipated land remote sensing program; and (2) an advanced land remote system design that could be less expensive to procure and operate than the Landsat system projected to be in operation through the year 2000. Directs the President, in executing such program, to seek to apply intelligence gathering technologies to the extent that they are appropriate for the technology demonstration and can be declassified without harm to national security. Requires such program to be designed to be responsive to the broad civilian, national security, commercial, and foreign policy needs of the United States. Allows such program to be carried out in part with private funding. Requires LPM to have a coordinating role in such program. Directs the President to assess the program's progress and report to the Congress within two years after enactment of this Act.

Title IV: Assessing Options for Successor Land Remote Sensing System - Directs LPM to assess and report to the Congress on the options for a successor land remote sensing system to Landsat 7.

Requires the report to fully assess advantages and disadvantages of funding and management of a successor system by: (1) the private sector; (2) an international consortium; (3) the U.S. Government; and (4) a cooperative effort by the U.S. Government and the private sector.

States that preference should be given to private sector system development, without competition from the U.S. Government, if a successor land remote sensing system to Landsat 7 can be funded and managed by the private sector while still achieving specified goals and without jeopardizing U.S. domestic, national security, and foreign policy interests.

Title V: General Provisions - Provides for nondiscriminatory availability of data. Requires that any unenhanced data generated by the Landsat system, or by any other land remote sensing system funded and owned by the U.S. Government, be made available, with specified exceptions, to all users on a nondiscriminatory basis.

Declares it to be in the public interest for the U.S. Government to maintain an archive of land remote sensing data for historical, scientific, and technical purposes. Directs the Secretary of the Interior to provide for such data's storage, maintenance, and upgrading.

Allows the sale of unenhanced data distributed by any licensee only on condition that it will not be reproduced or disseminated by the purchaser for commerical purposes.

Authorizes the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Defense, and other U.S. Government agency heads to provide assistance to land remote sensing system operators under this Act. Requires such operators to reimburse the Government for such assistance, except as otherwise provided by law.

Authorizes LPM, by a competitive process, to allow a licensee or any other private party to acquire use of equipment from the Landsat system when it is no longer needed to operate, or sell data from, the system.

Requires the filing of an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for any radio facilities involved with commercial remote sensing space systems licensed under this Act. States that FCC authority shall not be required for development and construction of any U.S. land remote sensing space system (or component), other than radio transmitting facilities or components, while any licensing determination is being made.

Directs the Secretary of Commerce and LPM to consult with: (1) the Secretary of Defense on all matters under this Act affecting national security; and (2) the Secretary of State on all matters under this Act affecting international obligations.

Directs the Secretary of State to report to the Secretary of Commerce and LPM any instances outside the United States of discriminatory distribution of Landsat data.

Requires LPM to report to the Congress on Landsat system operations, including timely notification of decisions relating to national security concerns and international obligations.

Authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to require Federal agencies which request imposition of technical modifications on a licensee for national security reasons to reimburse the licensee for certain additional or past development costs (but not for anticipated profits or costs ordinarily associated with doing business abroad).

Directs the Secretary of Commerce, in collaboration with the private sector entities responsible for marketing and distributing Landsat system unenhanced data, to develop and implement an enforcement system to ensure that such data received solely for noncommercial purposes are not used for any commercial purpose, in the event that such data are made available for noncommercial purposes at a different price than for other purposes. Provides for the Secretary's enforcement authority, enforcement mechanisms, and procedures and regulations.

Title VI: Prohibition of Commercialization of Weather Satellites - Prohibits the President and any other U.S. Government official from making any effort to lease, sell, or transfer to the private sector, or commercialize, any portion of the weather satellite systems operated by the Department of Commerce or any successor agency. Prohibits any such action regardless of any change in circumstances subsequent to enactment of this Act and even if such change makes such commercialization appear to be in the national interest, unless this title has first been repealed.