At its June 7–8 meeting, the 15-member LANDSAT advisory committee passed a resolution that calls for testing the feasibility of transferring the land remote sensing satellite system to private ownership. The committee, appointed last month to advise Commerce Secretary Malcolm Baldrige on the management of Landsat, includes representatives of industry, the academic community, and state and local governments.
The committee, chaired by Michel T. Halbouty, consulting geologist and petroleum engineer at the Houston-based Halbouty Center, reports to Baldrige through the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA will become responsible for LANDSAT operations in January 1983. The National Earth Satellite Service will manage these LANDSAT operations and will provide support services for the advisory committee's quarterly meetings. The resolution that the committee passed at its first meeting outlined a four-step process by which the Commerce Department can evaluate the feasibility of transferring the operational land remote sensing satellite system to private industry. The possible transfer is in keeping with the Reagan administration's policy to shift some government-supported activities to the private sector.