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communications, including demonstration of the services, with
two provisos: first, that potential user agencies from
federal and state governments and from private organizations
where appropriate, be involved in the planning of the program
from its beginning; second, that from the beginning of any
work on such satellite systems, planning start for their orderly
transfer from NASA to other public agencies or to the private
sector, if and when they are successfully demonstrated.

Satellites have become an important part of weather monitor-
In this field,

ing systems in this country and many others.
NASA and NOAA have developed an excellent cooperative relation-
ship. NASA continues to advance the technology while NOAA is
responsible for the operational satellites.

The transition from experimental to operational satellites, oth

was facilitated by the preexistence of suitable, capable infrastructures

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in one case the common carrier communications industry, in the other, the Weather Bureau which later became the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Satellites have also been proving their usefulness in a third area remote sensing of the earth's surface. The value of this capability will expand as measurement of surface temperatures becomes more precise

Information derived from NASA's experimental Landsats is today being widely used by the geological exploration industries as a tool in the search for minerals and petroleum. Landsat data are also being used for

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water resource management, forest and range land management

and other aspects of natural resource management or monitoring.

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data or experimenting with its use. Use of such data by state agencies is growing, albeit slowly, with the states of California, Georgia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington among the leaders.

However, some serious institutional problems limit the utility of earth resources satellites; there is, as yet, no adequate infrastructure. The users are not suitably aggregated, and it is not obvious who should become responsible for an operational system. It is not sufficient to show that the the satellite works; the user must have

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space segment an opportunity to find whether the information provided by the satellite usefully complements, or in some cases, perhaps even replaces, his traditional means for collecting information. It has been difficult, under the circumstances, to make the transition from the experimental to the operational phase of earth resources satellites. Among the various areas in which this problem exists, we might note farm management, environmental quality, ocean/atmospheric interactions, ocean resources, renewable and nonrenewable resources, and navigational service for ocean vessels.

The Congress and the Executive Branch have recognized these institutional problems and are seeking solutions. Solutions, however, cannot be expected to come quickly. It is important that, while the institutional problems are being worked out, the nation have access to such benefits as earth observation satellites can provide, and that the technology be advanced to make possible new services.

Patently, the effectiveness of the process which brings the products of this space technology into the hands of the end user needs to be improved. To do so may require some adjustment in NASA's view of its role in applications.

R&D agency, NASA has focussed its efforts largely on the


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space segment satellites and the sensing instruments they carry. NASA has funded experiments in the transformation of remotely sensed data into information in the form needed by the users as well as experiments in the use of the new information to complement information from traditional sources. It is important to recognize, however, that to bring this new technology into day-to-day use requires much more than optimizing the space segment and experimenting with what can be done with its data products. NASA must give more attention to the total system, and recognize that it has some responsibility for assuring that progress on all elements essential to the system are in balance. The elements could include the space segment, ground facilities for receiving and processing the

data, means for getting the data to the eventual users, and for assuring such disparate non-space activities as training for users, and developing mathematical or theoretical models to help understand or use the space-derived information. This is not to say that NASA should necessarily operate all elements of the system. But there is need for a lead agency in every case and NASA may have to assume that role, even if only temporarily.


Let me cite an example of a situation where such leadership is needed. NASA is well along in the development of the nextgeneration instrument for remote sensing of the earth's resources the Thematic Mapper. The budget just submitted by the President includes funds for Landsat D, the spacecraft which will carry the new instrument, and for NASA computers to make preliminary processing of the data. The space segment of a system which will permit significant advances in terrestrial uses, then, seems to be well provided for. However, Landsat D will transmit data at a much greater rate than the first generation of landsats; current ground facilities for processing Landsat data owned and operated by the Department of the Interior -- are inadequate to handle Landsat D data and disseminate it to the users without unreasonable delay. The Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering and Technology has made some recommendations on this point, but ground facilities for processing satellite data have not, at least up to this time, ranked high on the priority list of

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the Department of the Interior. There is need here, then, for

leadership so that the nation may reap the full benefits of the

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new capability.

Related to these considerations is "demonstration," the transitional phase between research and development and the operational phase of a practical space system. In this phase, the technological capabilities of the system have been proven, but the user community has not yet had sufficient opportunity to evaluate the system for its own purposes. If the course of

this transitional phase is not provided for, systems that could provide important benefits may not come into use. I gather that it is uncertain whether the Space Act of 1958 authorizes NASA to accept responsibility for the transitional phase. Under the circumstances, NASA has largely refrained from carrying demonstrations beyond indication of technical feasibility. But this leaves a serious hiatus. Showing that a new technology works is a technical experiment, and can be done relatively quickly. To learn how, indeed whether to use the new technology is more appropriately regarded as a "social experiment," and its necessary duration must be measured in


It is the view of our Space Applications Board, then, that NASA should give more attention to the total system, and bring potential users into their planning at a very early stage, by providing more assistance to users, and by extending

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