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51 U.S. Code § 60121 - General licensing authority

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(a) Licensing Authority of Secretary.—
(1) In general.—
In consultation with other appropriate United States Government agencies, the Secretary is authorized to license private sector parties to operate private remote sensing space systems for such period as the Secretary may specify and in accordance with the provisions of this subchapter.
(2) Limitation with respect to system used for other purposes.—
In the case of a private space system that is used for remote sensing and other purposes, the authority of the Secretary under this subchapter shall be limited only to the remote sensing operations of such space system.
(b) Compliance With Law, Regulations, International Obligations, and National Security.—
(1) In general.—
No license shall be granted by the Secretary unless the Secretary determines in writing that the applicant will comply with the requirements of this chapter, any regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, and any applicable international obligations and national security concerns of the United States.
(2) List of requirements for complete application.—
The Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a complete and specific list of all information required to comprise a complete application for a license under this subchapter. An application shall be considered complete when the applicant has provided all information required by the list most recently published in the Federal Register before the date the application was first submitted. Unless the Secretary has, within 30 days after receipt of an application, notified the applicant of information necessary to complete an application, the Secretary may not deny the application on the basis of the absence of any such information.
(c) Deadline for Action on Application.—
The Secretary shall review any application and make a determination thereon within 120 days of the receipt of such application. If final action has not occurred within such time, the Secretary shall inform the applicant of any pending issues and of actions required to resolve them.
(d) Improper Basis for Denial.—
The Secretary shall not deny such license in order to protect any existing licensee from competition.
(e) Requirement To Provide Unenhanced Data.—
(1) Designation of data.—
The Secretary, in consultation with other appropriate United States Government agencies and pursuant to paragraph (2), shall designate in a license issued pursuant to this subchapter any unenhanced data required to be provided by the licensee under section 60122(b)(3) of this title.
(2) Preliminary determination.—The Secretary shall make a designation under paragraph (1) after determining that—
such data are generated by a system for which all or a substantial part of the development, fabrication, launch, or operations costs have been or will be directly funded by the United States Government; or
it is in the interest of the United States to require such data to be provided by the licensee consistent with section 60122(b)(3) of this title, after considering the impact on the licensee and the importance of promoting widespread access to remote sensing data from United States and foreign systems.
(3) Consistency with contract or other arrangement.—
A designation made by the Secretary under paragraph (1) shall not be inconsistent with any contract or other arrangement entered into between a United States Government agency and the licensee.

Historical and Revision Notes



Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


15 U.S.C. 5621.

Pub. L. 102–555, title II, § 201, Oct. 28, 1992, 106 Stat. 4171; Pub. L. 105–303, title I, § 107(f)(1), Oct. 28, 1998, 112 Stat. 2854.

In subsection (b)(2), the words “within 6 months after the date of the enactment of the Commercial Space Act of 1998” are omitted as obsolete.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Prohibition on Collection and Release of Detailed Satellite Imagery Relating to Israel

Pub. L. 104–201, div. A, title X, § 1064, Sept. 23, 1996, 110 Stat. 2653, provided that:

“(a) Collection and Dissemination.—
A department or agency of the United States may issue a license for the collection or dissemination by a non-Federal entity of satellite imagery with respect to Israel only if such imagery is no more detailed or precise than satellite imagery of Israel that is available from commercial sources.
“(b) Declassification and Release.—
A department or agency of the United States may declassify or otherwise release satellite imagery with respect to Israel only if such imagery is no more detailed or precise than satellite imagery of Israel that is available from commercial sources.”