continue flying TRMM. According to NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NASA’s partner developing TRMM, has declined to contribute additional funding, and so has NOAA.
But we urge you to work with NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, and any other agency that benefits from the data TRMM provides to find the additional funding to keep the satellite in service. The cost of keeping the satellite functional is minuscule compared to the value it provides.
Further, we believe this case unfortunately is only the most recent example of a longstanding problem regarding the transition of research satellites that NASA builds and launches into working satellites that other agencies, such as NOAA, might operate. More attention must be devoted to how to better coordinate satellite operations between agencies, so as to prevent currently operational and valuable resources like TRMM from being wasted.
I look forward to working with you to ensure the continuance of the TRMM mission and to rectifying the broader problem of identifying and maintaining the valuable capabilities of research satellites in an operational capacity.
With Best Regards,
SHERWOOD L. BOEHLERT