The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is studying ways to mitigate a gap in weather data sourcing that could occur between 2014 and 2017, FCW reported Thursday.
Frank Konkel writes the agency commissioned a study that examines 44 options to fix the potential problem that, if not addressed, could affect both U.S. forecasts and spy satellite positioning, both of which rely on the same data.
The gap mitigation analysis, completed by Riverside Technology and Integrity Applications in February, found sourcing from China’s satellites as one of the more viable solutions.
“(Using data from the Chinese satellite Feng Yun 3) is most attractive because the satellites provide nominally the same information and will reside in approximately the same orbit as will JPSS-1, and new satellites will be launched well before the projected gap in NOAA polar satellite coverage,” the study said.
JPSS-1, scheduled to go online in 2017, will be the first satellite to launch under NOAA’s next-generation $13 billion Joint Polar Satellite System.
FCW noted several areas where concerns could arise if China were to get involved in a U.S. satellite program.
While the agency declined to comment on the study, an unnamed official told FCW that it would likely be a multi-party decision due to the security elements involved.
Konkel writes NOAA representatives are expected to discuss its mitigation plan with lawmakers at a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on Sept. 19.