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WPost Wants Earth Observation Satellites to Get More Political Attention

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 06-May-2012
Updated: 06-May-2012 08:21 AM

The Washington Post wants NASA's earth science satellites and NOAA's weather satellites to be on the list of issues debated in this presidential election year.

The Washington Post editorial chides the Senate for spending its time debating how to find $6 billion to enable interest rates on student loans to remain at 3.4 percent -- an "old campaign gimmick" -- when earth observation satellite programs are underfunded.

The editorial comes in the wake of the National Research Council's (NRC's) "mid-term review" of how NASA and NOAA are implementing the recommendations of the NRC's 2007 Earth Science and Applications from Space (ESAS) Decadal Survey.  The NRC report concluded that U.S. earth observation satellite systems are in a "precarious" situation because of budget shortfalls, lack of affordable launch vehicles, and changes directed by the White House Office of Management and Budget and by Congress.

The editorial does not mention the two most recent political debates over NOAA and its satellite programs:  the Senate Appropriations Committee's recommendation to transfer NOAA's satellite programs to NASA because it believes NOAA manages those programs poorly, or Rep. Ralph Hall's (R-TX) criticism of NOAA for issuing a contract proposal to have magicians at a training conference.

 


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