The Privatization of Landsat

Marissa Herron

This paper provides an overview of the history of Landsat, the first privatization attempt, and the return to a fully funded government capability. Both the Land Remote Sensing Commercialization Act of 1984 and the Land Remote Sensing Policy Act of 1992 are analyzed in the context of an intent – outcome framework. This framework highlights the timing misalignment that sometimes occurs between the political environment and a developing technology.


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The Landsat legacy continues with the September 2021 launch of Landsat 9.

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