by Ron Birk, Northrop Grumman
Over 150 stakeholders in our Space-based Environmental Intelligence community came together December 1 at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a special event co-hosted by the American Astronautical Society and the American Meteorological Society. Key stakeholders from NOAA, NASA, USGS, Congress, the Administration, the European Union, the private sector and academia celebrated accomplishments including the successful launch and deployment of the NOAA GOES R geostationary weather satellite.
There was a buzz throughout the networking event about advancing societal benefits into the future. Dr. Bill Hooke, Associate Executive Director of AMS and author of Living on the Real World, brought his compelling perspective on the value of science for society. Dr. Piers Sellers, acclaimed astronaut and Earth scientist, shared his findings from over 30 years of research and space travel on the value of monitoring our Earth from space in an excerpt from the recently released National Geographic Before the Flood movie.
The audience enjoyed an impressive video prepared by the space-based environmental community (watch for the video to be posted here soon). Major aerospace players, including Ball Aerospace, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, provided impressive accomplishments linked together to form the value chain from environmental sensors processed into information products to inform emergency responders in saving lives and protecting property for a Weather Ready Nation. The Society of Satellite Professionals International and the European Commission Copernicus program enhanced the video highlighting benefits and capabilities that span the environmental intelligence value chain. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Sustainable earth Observation Systems (SeOS), and the Aerospace Corporation joined in sponsoring the event.
The Honorable Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee, arrived just as Tom Fahy announced the Senate passed the Weather Research and Forecasting Act S.1561. Congressman Bridenstine enthusiastically called for the space-based environmental community video to be shared with congressional committees. He emphasized the value of environmental information for severe weather warnings, especially tornados and floods, key to people of Oklahoma and across the nation. He described steadfast support for NOAA operational polar and geostationary weather missions, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES R), and heralded the value of Earth science to monitor the vital signs of our planet with benefits for our economy, protection of life and property, and national security. The Congressman also emphasized progress and plans an increasingly robust Earth observations system, including benefits of being augmented by commercial weather data. A key area identified as a challenge for the community is space situational awareness, recognizing that low Earth orbit is increasingly congested and contested.
Tremendous recognition is due to everyone in the community coming together to make this important enterprise successful and vibrant as we continue into the future. Thanks to all for bringing so much talent and energy to the event. Our challenge and opportunity is to continue to reach out and expand our community, recognizing that everyone across the U.S. and around the world benefits from quality space-based environmental intelligence.