Hard Look at Weather Requirements

Gen. Bob Kehler, head of Air Force Space Command, told the House Armed Services strategic panel April 22 that the national weather satellite community is taking “enough time to go back and look at the requirements” for a new weather satellite after the NPOESS program break up to ensure relevant orbits are covered by the “responsible parties.” Kehler noted, too, that AFSPC wants to ensure the two yet-to-be-launched Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft are faced correctly to cover DOD’s time of day. At the same hearing, Gary Payton, USAF’s top space acquisition official, assured the lawmakers that USAF “is not going to get out of the business of lower-orbit weather observation spacecraft.” He said that’s because US Strategic Command, the chief warfighter representative for global weather forecasting, “has been very adamant that they cannot tolerate a gap in that early-morning orbit.”