Space Foundation News

Space Foundation Releases New White Paper – Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment

Written by: developer

A new white paper by Space Foundation Research Analyst Dr. Mariel Borowitz provides an overview of U.S. weather satellite systems and their benefits, as well as a list of recommendations to help ensure that the United States maintains this critical technology. Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment was released July 23 at a luncheon presentation in Washington, D.C., at the Rayburn House Office Building.

More than 65 people attended the presentation, which was followed by supporting comments from:

  • Greg Mandt, program director, GOES-R Systems, National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)
  • Jonathan T. Malay, director, civil space and environment programs, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Washington Operations
  • Cory Springer, director, weather and environment, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.
  • Jim Armor, vice president, strategy and business development, Space Systems Division, ATK Aerospace Group
  • Eric Webster, vice president and director, weather systems, ITT Exelis Geospatial Systems

About Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment

According to the paper, the next generation of weather satellites is currently being built, and both the polar-orbiting and geostationary programs are on track to meet their most recent estimated launch dates. However, a gap in some forecasting capabilities is very likely, and it is critical that both programs receive full funding to ensure that any gaps are minimized.

This issue is being addressed now due to concerns about decreasing weather forecasting capabilities posing threats to the United States. The white paper answers the question – how can our nation best position itself for the future?

Recommendations found in Weather Satellites: Critical Technology in an Uncertain Environment:

  1. Program offices should provide accurate and stable life-cycle cost estimates for weather satellite programs, and Congress should respond with full and stable funding for these programs, including Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) and the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate 2 (COSMIC-2).
  2. The United States should seek opportunities to increase international cooperation on weather satellite programs to help decrease costs and increase capabilities.
  3. The United States should explore the potential for working with commercial weather satellite data providers to augment current weather satellite capabilities and improve weather forecasting.
  4. The United States should conduct a comprehensive review of its weather satellite program portfolio to determine the correct level and distribution of funding to achieve the desired capabilities.

Click here to download a copy of the full report.


This article is part of Space Watch: August 2013 (Volume: 12, Issue: 8).