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Up to $2B Needed for New Space Weather Forecast System, Scientists Tell Lawmakers

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A new space weather forecast system could cost between $1 billion and $2 billion over the next 10 years, a panel of space scientists told a House subcommitee Wednesday.

Mashable reports the House Space, Science and Technology subcommittee on space and aeronautics heard testimony from NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials and other scientists on how a system would be built.

Charles Gay, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s science mission directorate, told the subcommittee his agency can apply the Heliophysics Explorer program’s research missions to conduct observations for NOAA’s space weather forecasting mission, according to Mashable.

According to Aviation Week, lawmakers also heard testimony on recommendations from the National Research Council on how to build up the space weather forecasting programs.

University of Colorado professor Daniel Baker, who chaired the NRC’s committee for that survey, told the subcommittee their findings envision another $100 million-to-$200 million per year over the next decade without disrupting current NASA and NOAA activities.

Frank Morring Jr. writes Baker wants to conduct a follow-on study into funding and division of jobs between NOAA and NASA.

If funding is not available, Baker said NASA could handle a greater operational role currently held by the National Weather Service, Mooring Jr. writes.

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