Fed up with an escalating price-tag and schedule delays on the next-generation polar-orbiting weather satellite system, Senate appropriators have ordered that the development of weather satellites—and the $1.6 billion budgeted for it—be moved from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to NASA. In the report that accompanied the Senate bill, the Appropriations subcommittee, chaired by Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), asserted that removing NOAA as “middle brokers” in the development and acquisition of weather satellites will save $117 million in fiscal year 2013. Noting that NASA has long managed the acquisition contracts for NOAA satellites, the report said the additional layer of bureaucracy that NOAA creates “only adds to the communication disconnect and complicates the decision-making process.” Under the proposed reorganization, the satellites would become NOAA’s responsibility once they are in orbit and their systems checked out, the committee report said.

Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA deputy administrator, told members of the House Committee...

You do not currently have access to this content.