Accessing and Requesting Commercial Smallsat Data FAQ

How can I become a NASA-funded researcher?

To submit a research proposal to NASA, individuals and the organizations with which they are affiliated must be registered in NASA's Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES). Individuals may register at any time. Organizations are required to have a valid registration with the System for Award Management before they can register in NSPIRES.

Who classifies as a NASA-funded researcher?

NASA-funded researchers are classified as a NASA employee, related entity, and/or licensed user.

Related entity: a contractor, subcontractor, partner, recipient, or grantee of the U.S. Government assigned, tasked, or contracted with, for, or on behalf of NASA to perform activities related to the data products that is subject to the same or more restrictive terms as expressed in the end user license agreement (EULA).

Licensed User: An authorized recipient and end user of Licensed Material (commercial data) according to the end user license agreement (EULA).

Who classifies as a U.S. Government-funded researcher?

U.S. Government-funded researchers are classified as a U.S. Government contractor, subcontractor, partner, recipient, or grantee of the U.S. Government. "U.S. Government" is used as defined under Title 5 U.S.C. 101–105; State, Local, and Tribal Governments within the U.S; Academia; and Non-Governmental Organizations and/or Non-Profit Organizations.

What commercial data are available for download?

Currently, data acquired during the evaluations of Planet, Maxar (formerly DigitalGlobe, Inc.), and Spire Global are available, as are data from the Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS). Data distributed by NASA are available under different scientific use licenses at various access portals.

How do I get approved to access the commercial data?

All NASA-funded researchers will have access to commercial datasets. All members of the U.S. Government have access to DESIS and Spire data. At this time, Planet data is only accessible to U.S. Federal civil agencies (excluding DOD an IC) and National Science Foundation funded researchers. All data requests must be approved by CSDA data managers. Contact us to provide your name, email address, and pertinent information (grant number, contract number, etc.) to indicate that you are authorized to use the data. The CSDA team will verify if the user is authorized for data access first. Once verified, the user will be provided with additional information on how to request and access data. 

Who can access Planet data?

Planet data are only accessible to U.S. Federal civil agencies (excluding DOD and Intelligence Community (IC)) and the National Science Foundation and their contractors, subcontractors, partners, and/or grantee supporting entities.

What are some examples of scientific use of Planet’s data?

Scientific use is research, experiments, evaluation, and/or development, including basic and applied research, that may lead to journal publications, licensed user derived data products or other scientific resources, including white papers and maps, for use by the broader science community and/or support logistical planning of future scientific research experiments such as field campaigns.

What are some examples of uses NOT permitted of Planet’s data?

Operational use is work used for non-scientific use logistical planning, response efforts outside US Government agency applied science missions, management of human resources, remote monitoring (i.e. construction, facility monitoring), enforcing compliance of regulations, law enforcement and investigations.

What is the process to access Planet’s PlanetScope and RapidEye data and is there an allocation?

The process for requesting and obtaining PlanetScope and RapidEye data is as follows:

  1. User contacts CSDA and provides name, email address, and pertinent information (grant number, contract number, etc.) for data access approval.
  2. CSDA will verify, notify Planet, and initiate the creation of an account for the user.
  3. Once the user receives notification of access, the user can search and browse Planet Explorer.
  4. User will place a data request order.
  5. A data download URL will be sent to the user via email or the user can download the data directly from the Planet API.

For PlanetScope and RapidEye, each user will be allocated a 5 million sq. km. quota. Furthermore, PlanetScope data will only be available 30 days after the acquisition. However, exceptions to both conditions can be made based on additional justifications.

What is the process to access Planet SkySat data?

The process for requesting and obtaining Planet SkySat data is as follows:

  1. User will search the data using the SDX.
  2. User will select the data from the search result.
  3. User will request the data (user will be asked to login using the Earthdata Login).
  4. Reviewer will review the request including verifying the user for data access.
  5. If the request is denied, a notification will be sent requesting additional information.
  6. If the request is approved, the user will be notified with a data download URL via email.

What is the process to access Spire data?

The process for requesting and obtaining Spire data products is as follows:

  1. User searches the data using the SDX. 
  2. User selects the data from the search result. 
  3. User requests the data (user will be asked to login using the Earthdata Login). 
  4. Reviewer will review the request including verifying the user for data access. 
  5. If the request is denied, a notification will be sent requesting additional information. 
  6. If the request is approved, the user will be sent a data download URL via email.

How can I find more information about Spire data in CSDA?

Please see the Spire CSDA Data FAQ (PDF) for additional information.

What is the process to access Maxar data?

The process for requesting and obtaining any Maxar data products is specified in more detail at NASA's NGA Commercial Archive.

What is the process to access DESIS data?

The process for requesting and obtaining DESIS data is as follows:

  1. Register with the CSDA program, and accept the vendor Teledyne Brown Engineering's end user license agreement (EULA) that is required for you to download data. 
  2. After acceptance, you will receive instructions from Teledyne Brown Engineering for creating an account on their TCloudHost. 
  3. You can then search and request your specific AOIs using TCloudHost portal for both catalog and tasking orders. 
  4. You will receive a data download URL via email when your request is ready.

How can I determine DESIS overpass/revisit opportunities for my area of interest (AOI)?

Please see the MUSES-DESIS World-Wide Assessment chart (PDF) for more information.

Do I need permission to publish my work outside of NASA?

For Planet, Spire, and Teledyne Brown Engineering data users: authorized users of the data should send a courtesy copy of the publication(s) to the vendor.

For Maxar data users: NASA and its related entities shall not publish the data products or derivatives, or disclose the data products to any third party without the express written permission of the vendor.

Please refer to the vendor specific end user license agreements (EULAs) for more information.

How do I cite the commercial data?

All data products and derivatives, as appropriate, shall contain a copyright notice similar to what follows:

  • For data products: "© {Contractor (Licensor)} {Year}. All rights reserved."
  • For derivatives: "Includes copyrighted material of {Contractor (Licensor)}. All rights reserved."
  • A joint copyright notice may be used as appropriate.

What are the terms and conditions to use the data?

Data distributed by NASA are available under different scientific use licenses and various access portals. See table below for vendor-specific end user license agreements (EULAs) and definitions for each EULA.

End User License Agreements

Vendor Data Available Date Range Who is authorized to use the data Scientific use only 3rd party publication requires permission Where to get archived data Can PIs submit new orders EULA
Planet PlanetScope
6/29/2014
- Present
U.S. Federal civil agencies; NSF (funded) researchers. Yes No* Planet Explorer Yes Planet Expanded EULA
RapidEye 2/1/2009
- 12/31/2019
SkySat 03/10/2015
- 12/12/2019
SDX No
Spire GNSS Radio Occulation 9/24/2018 - 12/9/2018;
12/14/2018 - 3/8/2019; 11/1/2019 - onward
U.S. Government (funded) researchers

Yes

No* SDX

Yes

Spire USG EULA
GNSS Grazing Angle Reflectometry 1/09/2019
-4/18/2019; 11/1/2019 - onward
Satellite Precise Orbital Determination (POD) and Satellite Attitude 9/24/2018
-4/18/2019; 11/1/2019
- onward
Total Electron Content 11/1/2019
- onward
Ionospheric Profiles 11/1/2019
- onward
Scintillation 11/1/2019
- onward
Magnetometer 11/1/2019
- onward
Raw intermediate frequency 6/17/2020;
6/20/2020;
6/21/2020;
9/8/2020
By request (PDF)
Maxar (formerly DigitalGlobe) WorldView 1 09/18/2007-present NASA (funded) researchers Yes Yes CAD4NASA Yes NextView License
WorldView 2 10/08/2009-present
WorldView 3 08/13/2014-present
GeoEye-1 09/06/2008-present
QuickBird 10/18/2001-01/27/2015
IKONOS 10/24/1999-03/31/2015
WorldView 4 12/01/2016
- 1/07/2019
MAXAR EULA
Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. DESIS 11/21/2018
-
Present
U.S. Government (funded) researchers Yes No* TCloudHost Yes DESIS EULA

* Principal Investigators should submit publications as a courtesy copy to the vendor.

Scientific use: use by Licensed Users of the data products pursuant to a NASA-initiated, U.S. Government-funded, and/or U.S. Government-peer reviewed investigation established through a NASA Research Announcement or similar public notice of opportunity, and performed for the sole purpose of conducting experiments, evaluation, research, and/or development, including basic and applied research under Government Science Program. Scientific use is not intended for the development of commercial products or services and does not include activities funded or sponsored by non-governmental organizations or activities outside of the U.S. Government.

Derivatives: any addition, improvement, update, modification, translation, transformation, adaptation, or derivative work of or to the data products, which is authored, created, or developed by or on behalf of the U.S. Government or its related entities including, without limitation, any reformatting of the data products into a different format or media from which it is delivered and any addition of data, information, or other content to the data products.

How do I know if specific areas of interest to my study are already available for download through NASA?

Users who are interested in accessing data purchased under CSDA are encouraged to use the SDX tool first to verify whether the needed data are already available. All data purchased and future evaluations will be periodically mirrored and made available.

How do I request specific areas of interest to my study that are not available for download through NASA?

For data that are not already available for download through NASA, users will use the following vendor-specific tools to search and request data:

As additional commercial small-satellite datasets are evaluated and acquired by NASA, those datasets will also be made available.

All data requests must be approved by CSDA data access managers before downloads will be granted.

If I am interested in tasking the DESIS instrument, how can I request that specific data be captured for download?

U.S. Government-funded researchers can submit requests for satellite imagery to be captured on-demand for specific dates and locations. Currently, such tasking capability is only available for DESIS. DESIS tasking requests need to be approved by CSDA first. Approved requests are submitted to Teledyne Brown Engineering by CSDA. Users will be notified once the tasking data are available to download.

What is NASA's plan for long-term preservation of the data?

All data purchased by NASA are mirrored in NASA infrastructure for long-term preservation. As part of the mirroring activities, NASA is also extracting metadata to provide a robust search and explore functionality for broader dissemination of the data.

If you have not done so already, please consider subscribing to the SMD mailing list (log in to NSPIRES and check the appropriate boxes under "Account Management" and "Email Subscriptions").

For questions contact CSDA.

For More Information

Frequently Asked Questions about ROSES

Frequently Asked Questions about Data Management Plans

Page Last Updated: Aug 19, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT