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NOAA’s Geostationary Weather/Climate Satellites Get Additional Funds From Senate


s-NOAA-BUDGET-largeThe federal government is likely receive a fund of $984 billion, as it was announced earlier this week by the leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The fund will be allocated for the period between March and September 2013, and the final decision will be taken on Tuesday.

Around $5.1 billion will be given to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to boost the budget for weather satellites.

The money will go towards the development of a new generation weather and climate satellites. Only last month, the agency announced that spending cuts, which took effect a few weeks ago, could result in a delay of the launch and consequently in a reduced data quality for weather forecasts and warnings.

This triggered an immediate response by the Senate, which mentions raise in funds for NOAA’s geostationary satellites- GOES-R.

The agency, however has been highly criticised for the way their satellite programs have been run. The Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), is amongst the biggest critics. She was the one to propose moving the satellite division of the agency to NASA, because she was convinced that the raising spendings might affect the development of other projects.

The plan of the Senate states that despite the high cost overruns of some satellite programs, NOAA still provides the most accurate data for weather forecasts and warning.

If the agency receives the proposed funds, they will have to submit regular reports to the Congress, indicating their action plans for limiting spendings and giving priority to geostationary weather satellite missions. In addition, NOAA is advised to transfer one of their altimetry missions, Jason-3, to NASA.

Although the fund is relatively high, it is still $36 million less than what was requested by the White House for 2013.

The across-the-board spending cuts will anyway take a part of the funding that is allocated for NOAA and other agencies. It is expected that the $5.1 billion, proposed by Mikulski, will become $4.84 billion.

The cuts are a measure to reduce federal outlays initially 8.2%, which was brought down to 5% earlier this year.

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