JPSS and GOES Fare OK in Trump Budget Request, But Polar Follow On Uncertain
The Trump Administration's FY2018 budget request for NOAA maintains support for the two major weather satellite programs, JPSS and GOES, but expects savings from the Polar Follow On program according to a copy of the document posted by the Washington Post. The "budget blueprint" will be officially released in a few hours. It is an overview of what the President is proposing. The detailed request is not expected to be sent to Congress for several weeks.
The information provided in the blueprint is not sufficient to ascertain exactly what the level of funding is for NOAA's satellite programs. The text says only that the JPSS and GOES programs are to remain on schedule. In NOAA's formulation, the JPSS program pays only for the first two satellites, JPSS-1 and JPSS-2. The next two (JPSS-3 and -4) are funded in the Polar Follow On (PFO) program. The budget blueprint says that "annual savings" will be achieved from PFO "by better reflecting the actual risk of a gap in polar satellite coverage" and that additional opportunities will be provided to expand use of commercially provided data to improve weather models. The latter probably is a reference to the commercial weather data pilot program through which NOAA plans to acquire GPS radio occultation data from commercial sources. Such data improves forecasts from polar orbiting weather satellites.
No dollar amounts were specified for any of the NOAA satellite programs.
The blueprint uploaded by the Washington Post spells out budget requests for other agencies, including NASA, which would receive $19.1 billion, including $1.8 billion for earth science research. [UPDATE, March 16, 7:20 am ET: The document is now posted on the White House Office of Management and Budget website.]
For more information on JPSS, GOES, PFO and the commercial weather data pilot program, see SpacePolicyOnline.com's fact sheet on NOAA's FY2017 budget request for satellites.
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