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NASA Earth Space Science

U.S. In Danger of Losing Earth-Observing Satellite Capability 258

New submitter crazyjj writes "As reported in Wired, a recent National Research Council report indicates a growing concern for NASA, the NOAA, and USGS. While there are currently 22 Earth-observing satellites in orbit, this number is expected to drop to as low as six by the year 2020. The U.S. relies on this network of satellites for weather forecasting, climate change data, and important geologic and oceanographic information. As with most things space and NASA these days, the root cause is funding cuts. The program to maintain this network was funded at $2 billion as recently as 2002, but has since been scaled back to a current funding level of $1.3 billion, with only two replacement satellites having definite launch dates."
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U.S. In Danger of Losing Earth-Observing Satellite Capability

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  • A perfect storm! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jhon ( 241832 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @01:59PM (#39917591) Homepage Journal

    This is the perfect tin-foil-hat scenario!

    The "Global Warming Alarmists" will say it's a plot to prevent the study of of anthropogenic climate change by the "Deniers" and prove just how bad it is.

    And the "Deniers" will say it's a plot to keep the "Alarmists" evil lie from coming to light.

    Pass the popcorn!

  • short on detail (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:03PM (#39917649)

    I wouldn't be surprised if 6 new sats designed and launched between now and then could actually do the job of the 18 mission the TFA mentions . TFA was long on hype and short on details.


  • Re:Correction.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IDtheTarget ( 1055608 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:13PM (#39917757)

    Public and Scientific earth viewing satellites are dwindling. The military has plenty of money to launch all they need.

    Actually, that's incorrect. We (I'm a Signal Officer in the Army National Guard that just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan) have several communications systems that use civilian satellites.

    So your statement would more correctly read: The military has plenty of money to rent time on civilian satellites.

    To head off the inevitable "it's not secure!", we use NSA-provided end-to-end encryption for all of our tactical communications, especially those going over civilian networks. Including satellites.

  • Re:Funding? No (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jheath314 ( 916607 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:28PM (#39917911)

    Much like the early voyages of discovery that put America on the map were a waste, right? Why waste money on exploration when there are petty tribal wars to be fought?

    NASA's budget is a rounding error compared to the military's budget, and yet I would put "landing a man on the moon" far higher than "My Lai" on the list of things America can be proud of. If exploration of space is a waste, then count me and millions of others as an ardent supporter of that kind of waste.

  • by coinreturn ( 617535 ) on Monday May 07, 2012 @02:47PM (#39918119)

    Apparently everyone forgot that NASA doesn't exist any longer. It's now MASO - Muslim Aeronautics and Space Outreach. How could we forget that? It's what our Dear Leader decreed after all.

    Massive flamebait. My god what happened to you as a child?

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam