NOAA and DOD highlights

The FY2012 budget proposal includes $1 billion for the Joint Polar Satellite System, the NOAA/NASA successor to the NPOESS satellite program. The funding, if allocated, would be used to “undertake continued development of instrument, spacecraft, and ground segment development to meet launch readiness dates,” the fact sheet summarizing the budget request states. As Space News reports, NOAA requested a similar amount for FY2011 but without an appropriations bill have not received that funding.

NOAA is also requesting $47.3 million to refurbish the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite for a 2013 launch. DSCOVR started life in the late 1990s as Triana, a spacecraft that would provide full-disk images of the Earth from the Earth-Sun L-1 point; it was dubbed “GoreSat” by critics because the program was instigated by then Vice President Al Gore. DSCOVR would now primarily focus on solar observations, providing data to “support timely and accurate forecasts and warnings of geomagnetic storms.”

The budget request also, as expected, includes more money for the EELV program, Space News reports. The $1.76 billion EELV budget for 2012, $450 million more than what the Defense Department previously projected for 2012, would allow the purchase of four more vehicles. That increase, Air Force officials said, is linked to a move to block buying to reduce per-unit costs.


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