Space Foundation News

Weather Forecasting Nets NOAA 2013 Space Achievement Award

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The Space Foundation will present its 2013 Space Achievement Award to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its use of space-based systems in making life-saving predictions and issuing early warnings of calamitous weather conditions.

“While most people recognize the value of weather predictions, many don’t realize how NOAA uses space assets to determine the severity and risks of approaching weather events,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham. “The 2013 Space Achievement Award recognizes NOAA for valuable space-assisted forecasts and warnings that saved lives and allowed the protection of property throughout the year, particularly with activities in advance of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States.”

The award will be presented during the opening ceremony of the 29th National Space Symposium on April 8 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

NOAA’s Role is to Understand, Predict Change in Earth’s Environment

In 2011, the United States experienced 14 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more, more than occurred in any other year on record. Weather affects the decisions made by individuals, companies and governments on a regular basis. Accurate forecasting can help individuals save time and companies save money, and severe weather warnings save lives. The quality of U.S. weather forecasting relies heavily on satellites.

NOAA uses two types of weather satellites: geosynchronous and polar orbiting, historically referred to as the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) systems.

Using space assets to predict major storms has dramatically reduced deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes and major storms at sea. For example, the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900 killed more than 12,000 people, while early warning and evacuations kept the death toll from Hurricane Sandy (pictured, left) to fewer than 300.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, ranging from ocean depths to the surface of the Sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources. NOAA’s origins date to 1807, when the nation’s first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Today, NOAA maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader on scientific and environmental matters.

Learn more about NOAA by visiting

Award Honors Significant Contributions to Space Exploration, Development or Utilization 

The Space Foundation annually presents the Space Achievement Award to an individual or organization for significant contributions in advancing the exploration, development or utilization of space.

Previous recipients include: the Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission team; China’s Shenzhou 7 Manned Space Flight Team; the United States Air Force; Bigelow Aerospace; the U.S. Titan Launch Vehicle Team; the Inertial Upper Stage Team; the SpaceShipOne Team; the Ariane 4 Launch Team; the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Teams; the NASA/Industry Galileo Space Probe Team; the men and women of United States Space Command and its component organizations; the Hubble Space Telescope Team; Sea Launch; NASA-Boeing International Space Station Team; Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., USAF, Ret.; Capt. James A Lovell, Jr., USN, Ret.; the American Astronautical Society; Air University; SpaceX and Télécoms Sans Frontières; and, in 2012, Junichiro Kawaguchi, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Register Now and Save

Recognized as the premier gathering of the global space community, the Space Symposium is slated for April 8-11 at The Broadmoor Hotel, and features presentations and panels covering all aspects of space. The Space Symposium is offered in conjunction with a separate Space Foundation event, Cyber 1.3, to be held during the day on April 8, immediately preceding the Space Symposium’s opening ceremony.

Register in advance for both events here. The secure online registration page includes a live chat tab for customer service questions.

This article is part of Space Watch: March 2013 (Volume: 12, Issue: 3).