Proposed Budget Maintains Funding for Current Gen Weather Satellites

The Trump Administration’s proposed Commerce Department budget maintains funding for the development of NOAA’s current generation geostationary and polar orbiting weather satellites.  However, the follow-on polar orbiting program appears to be delayed.

“Achieves annual savings from NOAA’s Polar Follow On satellite program from the current program of record by better reflecting the actual risk of a gap in polar satellite coverage, and provides additional opportunities to improve robustness of the low earth orbit satellite architecture by expanding the utilization of commercially provided data to improve weather models,” the blueprint states.

Translation: we’re delaying the follow on by assuming the current generation of satellites lasts longer. In the meantime we will expand the use of commercial weather satellites.

The administration is alsp proposing to eliminate ” $250 million in targeted National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant, which primarily benefit industry and State and local stakeholders. These programs are a lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.”

The proposed budget would also impact operations of the NOAA/NASA Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR), which monitors space weather and the solar wind from a location 1 million miles from Earth. The budget would terminate the “Earth-viewing instruments,” which presumably includes the main camera.

The proposed termination of the DSCOVR instruments is included in the NASA section of the president’s budget as one of four Earth science projects set for cancellation. DSCOVR was launched in February 2015.

Below are highlights from the administration’s budget blueprint relating to the Commerce Department.

Department of Commerce

The President’s 2018 Budget requests $7.8 billion for the Department of Commerce, a $1.5 billion or 16 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level

  • Zeroes out over $250 million in targeted National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant, which primarily benefit industry and State and local stakeholders. These programs are a lower priority than core functions maintained in the Budget such as surveys, charting, and fisheries management.
  • Maintains the development of NOAA’s current generation of polar orbiting and geostationary weather satellites, allowing the Joint Polar Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite programs to remain on schedule in order to provide forecasters with critical weather data to help protect life and property.
  • Achieves annual savings from NOAA’s Polar Follow On satellite program from the current program of record by better reflecting the actual risk of a gap in polar satellite coverage, and provides additional opportunities to improve robustness of the low earth orbit satellite architecture by expanding the utilization of commercially provided data to improve weather models.
  • Maintains National Weather Service forecasting capabilities by investing more than $1 billion while continuing to promote efficient and effective operations.