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Compliance & Monitoring

About Compliance and Monitoring

The mission of the Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring program is to support the United States space economy, commercial remote sensing industry, and general public by ensuring the legal operation of private Earth remote sensing space systems under the law. 

The Compliance and Monitoring program works with other U.S. Government agencies striving to preserve essential U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, and international obligations, by assuring compliance by the licensees of the law, regulations, policy and the terms of their NOAA-issued private remote sensing space system license. It is the duty of The Compliance and Monitoring department to preserve, protect, and promote the interests of the United States, and the Department of Commerce in discharging its responsibilities under law and regulations. 

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How Compliance and Monitoring execute their mission


  • Assuring compliance with the Kyl-Bingaman Amendment for collection of imagery of Israel
  • Reviewing licensee agreements impacting national security, foreign policy and international obligations of the U.S.
  • When necessary, initiating appropriate enforcement actions to assure compliance with law, regulations and terms of the private remote sensing space system license.


  • Conducting periodic on-site audits to inspections
  • Collecting and reviewing:
  • Appropriate financial information
  • Plans and procedures to comply with data collection restrictions, operational limitations
  • Annual certifications
  • Operational notifications



General Information

As a NOAA Licensee to operate a private remote sensing space system, significant responsibilities accompany the privilege. A Licensee must:

  • operate the system in such a manner as to preserve the national security of the U.S. and observe the international obligations of the U.S
  • discharge legal obligations regarding availability of data
  • comply with:
    • the terms and conditions of the NOAA license
    • reporting requirements (e.g., immediate notification of any deviations from orbit, and data collection characteristics of the system, and, proposed significant or substantial foreign agreements, inter alia)
    • information requests from Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring
    • cooperate fully with Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring on-site audit activities including foreign sites

Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring is charged to monitor compliance and when necessary take corrective actions to enforce compliance with US law, policy, regulations, and the terms and conditions of the NOAA license. The following information highlights the means and manner in which Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring performs its duties:

Annual Compliance Certification:

Due on Oct 15 of each year, the Licensee must Certify in writing that all material facts in the license remain accurate pursuant to the procedures in § 960.14. The annual certification is not a substitute for a license modification request.
Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring will conduct an on-site audit at least annually, following the issuance of a license, to confirm the licensee's compliance with the national security, foreign policy, international obligations of the United States and compliance with all other license conditions.

Monitor Licensee Compliance

  • Compliance and Monitoring reviews the terms of the license, any previous audits, on-site inspection reports and other information to assure compliance by licensees with U.S. law, regulations, policy and the terms of the NOAA license and specifically, the conditions for operation contained in 15 CFR Sect. 960.8, 960.9, and 960.10, as applicable. When circumstances indicate, investigate:
  • Imagery sales
  • Violations of law, regulations, policy or the terms of the NOAA license
  • Financial improprieties raising questions of a licensees

Conduct Enforcement Activities

The Secretary is authorized to conduct such enforcement activities as are necessary to carry out his/her responsibilities under the Act. As the Secretary s designee, Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring investigates and refers violations to appropriate authority for enforcement actions. Such actions may include imposition of a civil penalty by the Secretary of no more than $10,000, per violation, per day of operation in violation. Additionally, the Secretary of his/her designee may request the appropriate U.S. Attorney to seek a court order to terminate, suspend or modify the license, or immediate termination of operations.

[Note: Licensee reporting requirements and NOAA site visit responsibilities are time sensitive and triggered by the launch date. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the licensee to notify NOAA licensing immediately when a decision has been made to change a previously reported launch date. Failure to timely notify is a violation of the terms of the license.]

Compliance and monitoring responsibilities include awareness of:

  • Status of spacecraft: must notify if anomaly occurs
  • Launch dates: sets off chain of events
  • Location of all ground stations: updates required each inspection visit
  • Status of ground stations: active, inactive, commercial, government

Post Launch:

Once spacecraft is declared operational, the licensee submits:

  • Spacecraft designation number
  • Orbital altitude
  • Orbital inclination
  • Spacecraft state of health
  • Imaging system state of health
  • Spatial resolution
  • Spectral resolution

In consultation with the affected agencies, limitation on commercial remote sensing systems will be imposed by the Secretary of Commerce when necessary to meet international obligations and national security and foreign policy concerns and will be in accord with the determinations of the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State and with applicable law. Procedural responsibilities and actions implementing this policy of particular importance to the licensee and the Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring follow:

  • Upon notification by the Departments of Defense and State of an intent to request the Secretary of Commerce to issue a directive to interrupt normal commercial operations, Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring will exercise due diligence to transmit the Secretarial decision to the affected licensee(s)
  • Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring obtains necessary system data to prepare the interruption directive and transmits the via phone and/or email to licensee(s)
  • Licensee will immediately acknowledge receipt of the directive and implementation of the directive
  • Licensee is obligated to advise Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring as soon as possible of any failure to comply with the directive
  • Commercial Remote Sensing Compliance and Monitoring will issue a termination of episode, rescinding the interruption of normal commercial operations directive, when informed by appropriate authority to do so.


Contact Us

For all licensing and regulatory affairs inquiries, contact us by:

Mailing Address:
Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs
1335 East-West Highway SSMC-1/G-101
Silver Spring, MD 20910

To submit a licensing query, please use the Initial Contact Form



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