Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Under the Obama Administration’s proposed restructure of the tri-agency NPOESS weather satellite program, the Air Force would go its own way and concentrate on building a new satellite to meet the needs of the military community for weather observation and forecasting, Gary Payton, the Air Force’s top civilian space official, told reporters Feb. 4 in Washington, D.C. At the same time, NOAA and NASA would focus on the task that the Administration now deems to be more urgent: fielding a new spacecraft primarily for climate monitoring. The three parties would continue to mature a common ground system for these satellites. The Air Force is planning to start its new satellite acquisition effort in the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2011, according to the White House. The Administration says the drastic overhaul comes after “conflicting perspectives and priorities” ultimately doomed the joint program’s chances of success. Continue