Hearing: Landsat at 50 & the Future of U.S. Satellite-Based Earth Observation

Hearing: Landsat at 50 & the Future of U.S. Satellite-Based Earth Observation

U.S. Senator Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Senator Hickenlooper (D-CO) opens the “Landsat at 50” hearing on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. Photo courtesy of U.S. Senate live stream

A U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing titled “Landsat at 50 & the Future of U.S. Satellite-based Earth Observation: took place on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.  


The hearing was convened by Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado, the Chair of the Subcommittee on Space and Science (and a former geologist). The hearing focused on Earth Observation (EO) data openly provided to the public by NASA, USGS, and NOAA;  the role of commercial EO data providers;  improving access to EO data; and value-added EO services.

Witnesses included Steve Volz, Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services and Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Observation and Prediction, NOAA; Kate Calvin, Chief Scientist, NASA; Daniel Jablonsky, President and Chief Executive Officer, Maxar Technologies; Kevin Gallagher, Associate Director, Core Science Systems, USGS; and Waleed Abdalati, Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado.

Video coverage of the hearing (starting at 33:34) and written testimony of the witnesses can be found on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation website.

Dr. Kevin Gallagher

"Landsat is the most widely used land remote sensing data source within federal agencies to carry out their missions every day."


"The unique data from Landsat enable scientists and analysts around the globe to detect and monitor critical changes on Earth."


"Local, Tribal, state, and federal agencies all rely upon Landsat data to understand ongoing changes to their lands, surface waters, coastlines, ecosystems, and natural resources."


"Landsat data is used daily to help us better understand and sustainably manage our dynamic planet – and to improve our ability to combat climate change."


"Landsat, with its five-decade record of robust collection, calibration and archiving, and its longstanding service as a global reference to cross-calibrate other missions, improves not only the quality of those systems but the overall quality of the global “system of systems.”

Kevin Gallagher

Associate Director for Core Science Systems, USGS

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