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Why does NOAA launch satellites?

NPOESS weather satellite

To a report of the possibility that we could be without weather satellite coverage for more than a year, a reader asked: Why does NOAA have anything to do with the launching of satellites? If NOAA needs a satellite they should just tell NASA what they need, and let the experts build and fly it. We don't need multiple agencies trying to build their own little empires of satellite operations.

Frank Konkel responds: NOAA works with NASA on the JPSS (Joint Polar Satellite System), but prior to that partnership, those two agencies worked with DOD on a program called the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) that was supposed to replace polar-orbiting satellites: It failed miserably due to mismanagement and overshot budgets. The government, then, decided the current system would be better than the tri-agency partnership, although there is no shortage of criticism.

Posted by Frank Konkel on Feb 20, 2013 at 12:10 PM


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