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USA Congressmen Scrutinize NOAA for Delaying DigitalGlobe Imagery Approvals

[Via Satellite 06-08-2016] Two U.S. congressmen from the House of Representatives — Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Brian Babin, R-Texas — have submitted a letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) lack of decision on granting DigitalGlobe a license to fully operate its WorldView 3 remote sensing system.

“According to recent press reports, commercial satellite imagery provider DigitalGlobe is still awaiting a license approval to sell high-definition infrared imagery data from its Worldview 3 satellite almost three years after submitting the initial request, well beyond the 120 day requirement,” the letter states.

The Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 requires Pritzker to review and make a determination on any space-based remote sensing system license applications or inform the applicant of any pending issues. Smith, who is chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Babin, chairman of the Space Subcommittee, are requesting NOAA provide communications and documentation confirming DigitalGlobe’s application date, a timeline of the application review process, names of NOAA employees involved in the application approval process, and an explanation of why NOAA has taken this much time.

“NOAA regulations state that the agency must give a reason for the delay and an estimate of when its review will be completed. While the law states that applicants shall be informed of any pending issues and of actions required to resolve them, the committee would also like to know what has caused the delay in this application and when NOAA anticipates this licensing action will be closed out,” the letter states.

The letter is part of the committee of science, space, and technology’s ongoing oversight of NOAA’s licensing of private space-based remote sensing systems.