Report: NOAA Errors Led to Diminished Weather Satellites

GOES-17 satellite during processing by Astrotech. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NOAA’s poor management of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R (GOES-R) program has resulted in less accurate meteorological data from the GOES-16 and GOES-17 weather satellites now in orbit, according to an audit by the Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General (IG). [Full Report]

NOAA’s failure to properly address an overheating problem discovered during ground testing in 2017 led to the degraded performance of GOES-17’s main instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager (ABI). The GOES-16 satellite, which was already in orbit at the time, is also suffering from overheating of its ABI to a lesser degree, the report found.


Commerce, DOD Outline Space Achievements in Exit Memos

The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA's most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)
The GOES-R satellite will be NOAA’s most sophisticated weather observation spacecraft and is expected to improve forecasts and tracking substantially. (Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett)

The departments of Defense and Commerce have outlined their achievements in space in a pair of exit memos. The Obama Administration also outlined its space achievements in the Office of Science and Technology exit memo.

There is no mention in the Department of Transportation’s exit memo of the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation, which is playing an increasingly important role in the sector.

Below are excerpts from those memos from the Defense and Commerce departments.

Posey Legislation Would Allow for Military-Private Space Partnerships

Washington, Apr 19 (Bill Posey PR) — Today, Congressman Bill Posey (R-Rockledge) introduced legislation to allow for private sector investment in the Department of Defense for space transportation in an effort to modernize America’s defense capabilities, promote America’s commercial space industry and help America regain the loss of commercial launches.

“A priority for me is working to secure America’s leadership in launch vehicles, technology and operations and this bill helps us do that,” said Congressman Bill Posey. “We have been losing launches to overseas competitors and that is not good for our economic competiveness or our national security. We need to change that direction and my bill will do that. This bill is a win-win.”


U.S. Moves Forward on Lifting Curbs on ISRO, DRDO

U.S. likely to lift ban on ISRO, DRDO soon
The Hindu

The U.S., which imposed curbs on trade with defence entities like ISRO and DRDO following India’s nuclear tests in 1998, has set in motion regulatory changes to lift the ban soon, thus fulfilling a commitment made by President Barack Obama.

A formal notification to lift the ban by the U.S. Department of Commerce for this purpose is in advanced stage, top U.S. officials said.

Space Florida Gets $400,000 Grant for Space Coast Development Plan

September 30, 2010

On September 22, 2010, the Department of Commerce – Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded Space Florida $400,000 for development of a strategic economic development strategy for Florida’s Space Coast Region, to include Brevard and surrounding counties. Space Florida will provide an additional $100,000 in matching funds to the project.


Commerce Department Announces $35 Million Space Coast Investment Competition

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce made its preliminary announcement for the Space Coast Regional Innovation Cluster Competition. The $35 million program will fund innovative projects to help transition laid off space shuttle workers into new jobs. Proposals are due on Oct. 15.


Obama Nominates Republican Senator to Head Up Commerce Department

Gregg Nominated for Commerce Job
Washington Post

President Obama has nominated Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) for commerce secretary.

The nomination is the last for Obama’s Cabinet. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) was nominated Dec. 3 to head the Commerce Department, but he withdrew his name from consideration a month later because of a federal investigation involving state government contracts.