both operational and candidate operational sensors that measure identical variables as well as test new sensor concepts. A permanent NPP would ease the integration of research and operational missions by reducing risk and increasing confidence.

  • Some space should be reserved on the NPOESS platforms for research sensors and technology demonstrations as well as to provide adequate data downlink and ground segment capability.

    Current NPOESS plans include limited spare satellite resources (space, weight, power, etc.) that could support flight demonstrations of new sensor concepts. These resources are needed to ensure continued evolution of NPOESS capabilities over the decades that it will be in operation. Such an approach is only prudent and will ensure that NPOESS continues its state-of-the-art capabilities in short-term forecasting as well as improving its capabilities for climate research.

  • NPP and NPOESS resources should be developed and allocated with the full participation of the Earth science community.

    Because of time limitations, current plans for NPP were developed without much input from the science community. If the NPP concept is to be a permanent program element, then it is essential that future implementations be developed with much broader participation. Long-term goals should also be established. Some of the spare resources on the NPOESS platforms should be allocated based on a competitive process to ensure that the best science is accomplished. Such a program could be administered jointly by NASA and IPO as joint research announcements.


National Research Council (NRC). 1995. Earth Observations from Space: History, Promise, and Reality. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

National Research Council (NRC). 1998a. Overview, Global Environmental Change: Research Pathways for the Next Decade. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

National Research Council (NRC). 1998b. The Atmospheric Sciences: Entering the Twenty-First Century. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press

National Research Council (NRC). 1999a. The Adequacy of Climate Observing Systems. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

National Research Council (NRC), Space Studies Board. 1999b. “Assessment of NASA's Plans for Post-2002 Earth Observing Missions,” short report to Dr. Ghassem Asrar, NASA's Associate Administrator for Earth Science, April 8.

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