as well as the more recent delays to the JPSS program. However, a recent NASA inspector general report has called into question the integrity of some of the NPP instruments, including VIIRS and CrIS, and has projected that, owing to their development in an undisciplined environment, i.e., under the guidance of the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO), these instruments might last only 3 years, rather than the planned 7 years, further exacerbating the overall NPOESS to JPSS situation.
• Ocean Vector Winds (XOVWM in the decadal survey). Budget problems have affected NOAA’s capability to implement the 2007 survey’s recommendation to develop and launch a next-generation dualfrequency scatterometer to measure ocean vector winds (XOVWM). XOVWM would have continued and enhanced the measurement capabilities of NASA’s QuikSCAT spacecraft, which operated nominally from 1999 to 2009.8 Although developed as a NASA research mission, QuikSCAT supplied data that proved of great utility and were routinely assimilated into numerical weather forecast models.
Realizing that the XOVWM instrument was not affordable in the near term, NOAA initially planned to develop a less-capable version of the XOVWM (the DFS, or dual-frequency scatterometer) for accommodation on the Japanese GCOM-W2 spacecraft, which is scheduled for launch in 2016. However, in late 2010, NOAA recognized that future budgets would not support this effort and on January 13, 2011, the agency sent a letter to NASA stating that pursuit of the NOAA DFS on GCOM-W2 would be unaffordable in the foreseeable future. Further, NOAA has proposed that responsibility for the provision of operational scatterometry data be shifted to NASA. In the meantime, NOAA is working with NASA and the Indian space agency, ISRO, to acquire timely access to ocean surface vector wind data from the ISRO Oceansat-2 satellite.
• GOES-R/HES. In this case, NOAA conducted an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the capabilities planned for the Hyperspectral Environmental Suite (HES). The AoA recommended flying a sounder-only capability in the GOES-R time frame (but not on GOES-R). Limited budget and other higher-priority NWS priorities have made this option not feasible at this time. It is particularly ironic, given the cost of GOES-R missions, that none of them is planned to have a sounder capability, even though their predecessor missions, i.e., GOES-I through GOES-P (8 missions), all had a sounding capability.
• Jason-3. Precise measurements of sea-surface topography, which have proved to be among the most useful measurements for ocean and climate science, began in1992 with the launch of the NASA/CNES (France) TOPEX/Poseidon spacecraft. TOPEX/Poseidon was followed by the Jason-1 mission, launched in 2001, and Jason-2/OSTM, which was launched in 2008.9
Extension of this critical data record was planned via the launch of Jason-3 in 2014. Jason-3 enjoyed the strong support of both the United States and its European partner, EUMETSAT. However, the FY2011 budget reduced funding on the NOAA side, and the proposed NOAA FY2012 Jason-3 budget is threatened as well, with the result that discussions are underway between EUMETSAT and NOAA that could result in a 1- to 2-year delay for Jason-3. Additionally, the two recent Taurus XL failures (Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory) may delay the decision on a launch vehicle for Jason-3, further delaying the program, increasing costs, and threatening the continuity of this critically important long-term climate data record.
• COSMIC-2 (GPSRO in the decadal survey). Observations from the six-satellite constellation COSMIC launch in 2006 and the GPS radio occultation (RO) sensor on METOP-A have demonstrated the value of RO observations for weather prediction, space weather, and climate, providing bias-free profiles of refractivity (temperature and water vapor) in the troposphere, temperature in the stratosphere, and elec-
8The QuikSCAT mission continues to operate; however, the instrument’s antenna ceased spinning. The mission now plays a key role in calibrating the ISRO scatterometer and was strongly endorsed for continuation by the 2011 NASA Earth Science Senior Review process, with the applications subpanel ranking the mission as “high utility” despite the loss of antenna rotation. See http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/missions/operating/.
9While the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason-1 missions were collaborations between NASA and the French space agency CNES, OSTM is a four-partner mission with NASA, CNES, EUMETSAT, and NOAA. See http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov/files/ostm/Spacecraft-OSTM_Fact_Sheet_Final.pdf.