Climate Change and the NASA budget. Although the Space Shuttle program has been terminated, according to Sharon Kleyne, NASA Launch Services are not confined to the Space Shuttle and have not been cut. NASA's EOS (Earth Observation Satellite) program remains fully funded and one EOS satellite recently sent back its three billionth photograph of the Earth. Other countries and private interests now have the capacity to launch scientific satellites and NASA is providing money for private satellite launches. Sharon Kleyne believes that because these programs are so critical that the US government - the most influential entity on Earth - must take the long-term global lead in committing to, funding and implementing them. Failure to do this could doom the planet and everything on it that is good and worth preserving.
Satellites are set to launch – the budget is crowded
Last week's failed mission to place the $424 million Glory satellite into orbit doesn't just stymie scientists' efforts to maintain a 33-year record of the sun's brightness and discern the role of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. It's a blow to an already shaky and likely underfunded effort to revamp the troubled U.S. remote observation system. The issue is a crowded to-do list and increased pressure from Congress to cut the budget. NASA has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a number of key environmental satellite missions still on the ground, so it's likely those missions will fly eventually. They include the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-II) mission to track carbon dioxide flows and the LDCM satellite to maintain observations of Earth's surface (both planned for a 2013 launch), as well as ICESat-2, which monitors the melting poles, scheduled for 2016. But NASA needs hundreds of millions more to finish work on some of them, including nearly $500 million for ICESat-2. Glory's failure exacerbates both the scientific and the fiscal problems facing NASA. The collection of aerosol data represented novel and important science. The solar brightness mission, however, is as close to a must-do as it gets in all of climate science. Solar brightness measures the total energy added to the Earth system, which is needed for estimating global warming from greenhouse gases. Maintaining a record started by a 1978 mission requires calibration between satellites that overlap during their flights. But NASAcan't just put a Glory-II mission at the end of its calendar and hope for the best. The current craft measuring brightness is 3 years beyond its working life, and another is not expected until 2015. So NASA may try to push that date up.
Clark 11 (Stephen, writer @ SpaceFlightNow.com, 2/7/11, http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n1102/07weathersat/) JPG
NASA has appointed a cast of top managers to lead a troubled weather satellite program out of a bureaucratic abyss, restore confidence, and avoid a gap in essential meteorological observations. And do it all on a tight budget. The Air Force has also kicked off a new weather satellite program to serve warfighters around the world. The new efforts got started a year ago this month, when the White House ordered the dissection of the troubled $15 billion NPOESS weather satellite program. The U.S. Defense Department and NOAA responded by dismantling an inefficient joint management structure and establishing the groundwork for separate systems to begin supplying weather data in the second half of this decade. NASA controls the acquisition, development and launch of NOAA's civilian weather satellites. But 2011 will be a pivotal year for the next-generation weather and civil satellite programs. The Air Force, NOAA and NASA are still restructuring contracts and facing questionable funding levels to achieve crucial program objectives. The Joint Polar Satellite System and the Defense Weather Satellite System were set up last year by NOAA and the Air Force. JPSS spacecraft are scheduled to start launching as early as 2015 and the first DWSS payload is aiming for launch readiness by 2018.
The failure of the Glory launch may have broader implications, both for NASA's plans to launch a copy of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and for its overall budget. The satellite, known as OCO-2, is being prepared for launch in February 2013 aboard the same type of Taurus XL rocket used with Glory. Today's launch failure suggests the space agency may have to revisit those plans, a move likely to add to OCO-2's total cost. Meanwhile, larger budget questions loom. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory crashed two years ago when NASA was flush with money from economic stimulus legislation. But the failure to launch Glory comes days after Congress and the White House agreed to a stopgap spending bill that narrowly averted a government shutdown. House Republicans are pushing for broad cuts to federal science agencies, including NASA, and some lawmakers have suggestedit's time for the space agency to abandon climate change research altogether (ClimateWire, Feb. 14). President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget request for NASA was more generous. The White House proposal would shore up NASA's climate change research and monitoring, increasing the budget of the space agency's Earth science office by $213 million compared to the funding level in 2010, the last time Congress approved a yearlong federal budget.
Satellites will be funded – Obama
Schmid 6/15 (Randolph, writer @ Sydney Morning Herald, http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-technology/weather-satellite-need-defended-by-climate-experts-20110615-1g2au.html) JPG
Even President Barack Obama weighed in. In an interview that aired Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, Obama said that among the things that need to be preserved in a time of budget cuts are "government functions like food safety and weather satellites." National Weather Service director Jack Hayes said the threatened polar-orbiting satellites were vital in forecasting "Snowmageddon," the 2010 blizzard that staggered much of the Northeast. The agency ran a "what if," analysis, Hayes explained, to see how the forecasts would have looked without satellite data and the result was a prediction that would have underestimated the snow by 50 percent, he said. Similar "what if" studies are planned for forecasts of the tornadoes that devastated Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Joplin, Mo., he said.
Satellites are being funded – Obama’s support and stopgap measures
Congress has recently been asked to increase fundings for the planned Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) mission to Earth's orbit. NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) want to build the new civilian weather satellite for studying global warming and related issues. At this point, lawmakers are working on a budget measure that would see spendings associated with all federal programs being kept to 2010 levels in 2010. But the White House is asking Congress for a significant boost in JPSSfunding for next year. Government and industry sources say that the mission is a replacement of sorts for the joint civil-military National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) initiative, which was stopped dead in its track this February. The White House was the architect of NPOESS' downfall, but even President Barack Obama most likely acknowledged the need for such a mission. As such, the American space agency was instructed to develop the JPSS for NOAA, as a civilian application, while scientists at the US Air Force (USAF) are designing and building their own weather satellite. Since the new fiscal year began on October 1, the US federal government has been operating with continuing resolutions, which are stopgap measures designed to maintain funding levels at at least 2010 level. This happens because Congress proved incapable of passing any spending bills for next year. According to space, a continuing resolution proposal that the House of Representatives couldget will call for $528 million in additional funds to be alloted forthe Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) mission. Even though the new satellite will be using technologies developed under the NPOESS satellite program, NOAA still requested some $1.06 billion in funding for this mission alone for 2011. If Congress does not make the necessary appropriations, then JPSS will only receive $382 million, which isutterly insufficient for developing the satellite. In the document the White House Office of Management and Budget sent to Congress, experts highlight that the JPSS satellite needs to get an extra $528 million in 2011, thus reaching $910 million. While this particular project may get funded after all, things are not looking at all bright for other, equally-important projects, that are currently plagued by lack of NASA funding, Space reports.