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Satellite Industry Association Strongly Recommends Remote Sensing Policy Changes in Response to National Space Council’s Request Regarding Novel Commercial Space Projects

New SIA White Papers Demand Policy and Regulatory Changes to Ensure U.S. Competitiveness and Continued Industry Leadership

Washington, D.C., October 19, 2022 – The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today responded to the National Space Council’s call to update outdated regulations governing novel commercial space initiatives. In order to foster continued innovation that has resulted in unprecedented satellite industry growth, SIA is calling for the Biden Administration to modify NSDP-27, the 2003 Commercial Remote Sensing Policy and address export control rules concerning radio frequency (RF) remote sensing satellites and data. Such changes will help ensure America’s continued commercial space leadership and the ability to keep pace with sector growth, innovation and international competition in the satellite industry. The response details were summarized in two SIA white papers released earlier today.

SIA’s “National Security Policy Directive 27 and U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Policy” white paper calls for an overhaul of the nearly twenty-year old U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Policy, one that has not kept pace with international competition and military threats from Russia and China.  In the white paper, SIA calls for a review of the policy to better account for new and emergent remote sensing phenomenologies such as radio frequency, shortwave infrared, and hyperspectral capabilities that were not previously captured in the Policy.  SIA additionally recommends the goal of NSPD-27 should be expanded to promote U.S. economic interests, as U.S. economic leadership and a strong domestic commercial space innovation base are inextricably linked to national security priorities. SIA also calls for a review of export control determinations and licensing reviews to ensure these processes take into account the pace of growth in international remote sensing capabilities and ensure U.S. competitiveness and security in this sector.

“U.S. technological leadership in the satellite sector is at risk of being usurped by foreign competition not subject to strict licensing and export control requirements,” said Tom Stroup, president of the Satellite Industry Association. “Interagency cooperation is needed to ensure the U.S.  Government, American citizens, and our allies and partners have access to the highest quality commercial remote sensing data available today.”

SIA further detailed its export control recommendations in the White Paper, “U.S. Leadership and Commercial Space-based Radio Frequency (RF) Sensing Export Controls: A Pressing Need for Policy Guidance”. SIA states the U.S. Department of State has determined that the export of certain data and information products produced by American RF remote sensing satellite systems falls under the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR). This determination harms the competitiveness of U.S. companies by not failing to distinguish between civilian and militarily relevant products and services.  SIA believes that U.S. could better support its national and economic security, deepen international partnerships, and assure competitiveness in the international marketplace by considering a one-stop regulation of systems without ITAR controls for RF systems, similar to that of electro-optical systems. SIA also recommends that the USG should implement end-use and end-user controls utilizing the EAR to protect loss of critical military or intelligence advantages instead of imposing ITAR controls universally on clearly non-military and non-intelligence radio frequency information.

“Over the past half-decade, thanks to significant technological leaps in innovation, the commercial satellite industry has continued to grow with record numbers of satellites being launched each year,” added Mr. Stroup. “Generally classifying RF remote sensing satellites and data products under ITAR will unnecessarily threaten continued innovation and commercial industry growth. Such a policy would support continued industry growth as enterprise RF remote sensing satellites address global national security, maritime, environmental, resource, and other commercial applications.”

To view a complete list of the proposed recommendations regarding the 2003 U.S.CRS Policy and NSPD-27, please see the complete copy of the SIA White Paper, “National Security Policy Directive 27 and U.S. Commercial Remote Sensing Policy” by clicking HERE.

To view a list of SIA’s recommendations regarding ITAR, the control of satellite RF data exports as well as a complete copy of the White Paper “U.S. Leadership and Commercial Space-based Radio Frequency (RF) Sensing Export Controls: A Pressing Need for Policy Guidance”, please click HERE.

About The Satellite Industry Association

SIA is a U.S.-based trade association providing representation of the leading satellite operators, service providers, manufacturers, launch services providers, and ground equipment suppliers. For more than two decades, SIA has advocated on behalf of the U.S. satellite industry on policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the satellite business. For more information, visit

SIA Executive Members include: Amazon; The Boeing Company; DIRECTV; EchoStar Corporation; HawkEye 360; Intelsat S.A.; Iridium Communications Inc.; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions; Ligado Networks; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Northrop Grumman; OneWeb; Planet; SES Americom, Inc.; Space Exploration Technologies Corp.; Spire Global Inc.; and Viasat Inc. SIA Associate Members include: ABS US Corp.; The Aerospace Corporation; Artel, LLC; AST & Science; Astranis Space Technologies Corp.; Aurora Insight; Blue Origin; Comtech; Eutelsat America Corp.; ExoAnalytic Solutions; Hughes; Inmarsat, Inc.; Kymeta Corporation; Leonardo DRS; Lynk; Omnispace; OneWeb Technologies; Ovzon; Panasonic Avionics Corporation; Peraton; SpaceLink; Telesat Canada; ULA and XTAR, LLC. SIA Affiliate Members include: ARA; COMSAT; Davis Wright Tremaine; Envistacom, LLC; EVONA; Genus Group; Hogan Lovells; Integrasys LLC; Kencast; Keysight Technologies, Inc.; Media Broadcast Satellite; Orange Business Services; Orbital Research; Plexus Corp; Sheppard Mullin; Skylo Technologies and Wiley