With dozens of presentations–and a handful of Town Hall meetings–addressing the early successes and possibilities of the new Suomi-NPP satellite, it is ironic that the intended successor missions are already in jeapordy two years before planned launch.
Last September NOAA released a report from a review panel chaired by former Lockheed Martin executive Thomas Martin that criticized the costs and oversight of NOAA’s upcoming operational polar orbiters (the Joint Polar Satellite System). Meeting the scheduled late 2015 launch is already iffy, but with the high cost of these multipurpose missions and low tolerance for Federal spending in general, the review panel findings pushed NOAA to look into trimming back the goals altogether. Among the alternatives would be to replace some of the sensors with older, less sophisticated equipment, or even to ditch some of the non-weather capabilities that serve the climatological community in particular
So while some attendees will be celebrating Suomi-NPP’s successes at a Town Hall (Ballroom G, 12:15 p.m.), at the same time (Ballroom A) other attendees will be contemplating the uncertain prospects for future satellite capabilities at a Town Hall on “The Role of Satellite Data in Environmental Prediction and the Challenges for the Satellite Programs in Today’s Fiscal Climate.” The presenter at the latter session is Dr. David Titley, Deputy Under Secretary for Operations at NOAA.