Commercial Observation Satellites: At the Leading Edge
Commercial Observation Satellites: At the Leading Edge

Stock #4562

The successful launch of Space Imaging’s high-resolution IKONOS commercial observation satellite in September 1999 signaled the beginning of a new era in Earth observation. In the post-Cold War era, international and public access to satellite imagery and related geospatial information products is rapidly expanding. A new generation of high-resolution commercial and civilian imaging satellites is at the leading edge of growing global transparency. These satellite systems promise to offer almost any government, business, and nongovernmental organization the capability to acquire timely overhead images of locations that are geographically remote, politically inaccessible, or simply difficult to comprehend without an overhead perspective. Thus, they can support a wide range of beneficial civil, commercial, and military applications. However, important questions also exist about the commercial viability of these new imaging satellites and whether the dual-use imagery data they produced should be a matter of security concern.

This book, jointly published by RAND and ASPRS, brings together an international group of experts to analyze the diverse issues presented by the new, higher resolution commercial and civilian observation satellites. With more than two dozen chapters and numerous satellite images, the book authors examine emerging policy issues, provide a survey of the U.S. and many non-U.S. satellite remote sensing programs, and offer case studies on international security applications of satellite imagery. This book excerpt draws on the introduction chapter that previews the diverse issues raised in the book.

90.00