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Chairman Reacts to National Academies' Earth Science and Applications Assessment

US House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jan 18, 2007
Upon the release of Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond - the long-awaited assessment of the nation's Earth science and applications programs by the National Academy of Sciences - House Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) issued the following statement:

"At a time when accurate weather forecasting and climate research is becoming increasingly important to the well-being of our citizens, this distinguished panel of experts is warning in no uncertain terms that 'the United States' extraordinary foundation of global observations is at great risk.'"

"That finding is no surprise to those of us who have watched the cuts made to NASA's Earth science program over the last six years, and the disruption to NOAA's observations programs caused by the significant cost growth and schedule slips in the NPOESS program. The National Academies committee has done the nation a great service in providing clear recommendations for a constructive way forward, and the Science and Technology Committee will be watching closely to see whether the President's Fiscal Year 2008 budget request is consistent with those recommendations."

"The Committee continues to closely follow the acquisition problems with NOAA's polar satellite program NPOESS, as well as plans for the acquisition of the next geostationary satellite series, GOES-R. A significant unresolved issue that emerged from the restructured NPOESS program is how to provide for continued climate observations. The Committee will persist in its vigorous oversight of these important satellite acquisition programs in the 110th Congress and explore options for maintaining continuity of our climate and weather observing systems."

The report by the National Research Council was released on Monday at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

related report
Hall Congratulates NAS On First Earth Science Decadal Survey
Washington DC, January 16 - Ranking Republican Ralph Hall (R-TX) today congratulated the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) on releasing its first ever decadal survey produced by and for the earth science community, titled Earth Science and Applications from Space: National Imperatives for the Next Decade and Beyond.

"I would like to personally thank the committed team of scientists at the Academies who came together, from diverse scientific backgrounds, to create this important report," Hall said. "This report will provide valuable guidance, to both Congress and the agencies, about what steps must be taken in the coming decade to continue to improve our Nation's weather forecasting capabilities.

"Space-based observations provide vital information for tracking severe weather, understanding climate trends, and monitoring land use. The survey outlines a looming problem in the next five years, with a declining number of instruments to monitor the earth from space. This report provides a framework for policymakers to plan for future systems needed to maintain a comprehensive suite of observation capabilities, especially as Congress and the Administration wrestle with a very tough funding environment."

The report, which was produced under the auspices of the Space Studies Board of the National Research Council, was co-chaired by Dr. Richard A. Anthes from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and Dr. Berrien Moore from University of New Hampshire, and released yesterday at an American Meteorological Society meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

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Egypt Plans First Remote Sensing Satellite
Cairo (AFP) Jan 16, 2007
Egypt will soon launch its first remote sensing satellite from a base in Kazakhstan, an official was quoted as saying in the top-selling state-owned Al-Ahram daily Tuesday. "We will soon complete the final stage for launching the first satellite for remote sensing and scientific research, 'Misr Sat 1'," said Ayman Desouqi, from the National Authority for Remote Sensing.

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