Assumptions Abound:

Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) spotlighted, at last week’s House Science Committee hearing, just a few of what he termed “enormous risks” that the NPOESS team has built into its revamped program. For one, he noted that the new plan “assumes that the N-Prime satellite works as advertised as a gap filler.” However, he added, N-Prime itself has a spotty track record, so “no one can be certain how it will perform in orbit.” And, said Wu, “the plan also assumes that we will have 13 successful launches of 13 satellites constructed by four different agencies. … Those 13 satellites all have to work as advertised for at least as long as planned.”