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I expect continued, steady progress in improving the application
of space technology to Earth environmental observations. Here, NASA's development programs are vital precursors to future improvements in NOAA's operational systems.
In the past, NASA's TIROS and Nimbus satellites led to our current series of NOAA satellites in polar orbit. NASA will soon launch TIROS-N, the prototype of our third generation operational satellite in polar orbit. In a similar manner, NASA's Applications Technology Satellites (ATS) and Synchronous Meteorological Satellites (SMS) were the precursors of NOAA's current Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) operating over the equator at 75°w and 135°W longitude, providing continuous coverage of the Western Hemisphere.
The TIROS-N and GOES series of operational satellites now on order are expected to provide continuous coverage until at least 1985. Improvements to be introduced at that time will be based on the results of NASA
research and development programs, and the outcome of program priority evaluation in light of incremental costs versus probable value to the nation. The results of this process are more difficult to forecast than However, I think the technology is emerging, and a
need exists, for important new satellite monitoring of:
The ocean surface in support of a rapidly growing variety of
The ocean and atmosphere to detect changes in the climate and
the effects of man's activities. Nimbus G and the Earth
Radiation Budget Satellite System, as well as the NOAA
operational satellites, are important here.
The earth's surface (e.g. soil moisture and temperature,
radiation fluxes, rainfall and snow mount) for use in agri
culture, water management, flood forecasting and climate
Atmospheric structure on a short time and space scale to improve
forecasting of severe storms (e.g., thunderstorms, hail,
NASA is developing an atmospheric sounder which
will fly on one of NOAA's GOES satellites about 1980 to demon
strate this capability for the first time.
In many cases, these new developments can be incorporated in the NOAA operational satellite system in an evolutionary way. This is the case where the technological perturbation is relatively small and low in cost and the value to the nation is defined adequately.
other cases additional, new spacecraft may be required. Here it may be difficult to demonstrate the incremental value without a new phase of activity which I call "operational demonstration".
After the initial development and test of extensive and complex new technical capability, the operational utility may be promising but not adequately developed and demonstrated. Experience has shown that unless the user community can be identified clearly and be fully involved at this state, future progress in applying the technology will be very slow.
If one or a few Federal user agencies can be identified for a given applications area (e.g., NOAA for oceans and atmosphere), they can work with NASA in formulating and conducting the operational demonstration. NASA would be concerned primarily with the space segment and the user agencies with the ground segment; each agency should fund its part of the joint program.
That is why it is
To be successful, the operational demonstration phase must be configured and maintained just as though it was fully operational, including all phases through to service to the end-users. essential to have the total involvement of key user agencies in the operational demonstration.
The period of the operational demonstration must be long enough to "work out the bugs", establish the routine use of products in the user community, provide for evaluation of utility, and reach a governmental decision to continue, modify or terminate the new capability.
indicates that the minimum time period would be five years, where the user interfaces are well established and simple. The decision point must be early enough in the operational demonstration that the transition to full operational status can be made without interruption.
The NOAA-NASA procedure, wherein NASA serves as NOAA's "prime contractor" for operational spacecraft and launchings in accordance with system specifications provided by NOAA and NOAA operates the total system, may be a useful example to follow when it is finally decided to proceed with the fully operational phase. At this stage, the key user agency provides funds to NASA for the operational spacecraft and launching.
In summary, there are many technological advances in the offing which should have broad utility to our society. However, improvements
are needed in the process of going from initial space test through to full operational implementation.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Howard G. Kurtz, President
War Control Planners, Inc
Chairman Olin E. Teague
For a very few more years the United States will have a dominant world
As the Congress now clarifies, or refuses to clarify, U.S. long range
In response to your invitation, I submit for pro and con and creative discussion just a few highlights from more than twenty years study, work, observation, writing and editing in the field of the ever-expanding Kremlin/White House science and technology and strategic power race, working jointly with my wife Harriet until her death on June 17,1977.
Discussion is invited under the following headings: