View Full Version : Next decade of Earth science missions recommendations.

2018-Jan-06, 04:05 PM
National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released a report on setting priorities for the next decade of Earth science missions.

Ons bit of the recommendations I fully support - " The report did recommend greater collaboration with international partners, citing as one example China, which will be shifting this year at least one of its weather satellites into an early morning polar orbit to complement American and European satellites. “As the world’s largest nation with a robust space program, China… has the potential to fill gaps in our own program,” the report stated, while acknowledging the policy obstacles for such cooperation."


A report setting priorities for the next decade of Earth science missions recommends that NASA pursue a mix of large and small missions to help better understand the changing nature of the planet.

The report, released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in an event here Jan. 5, includes a portfolio of proposed missions that it believes can fit within NASA’s Earth science budget assuming it grows at the rate of inflation, but with “decision rules” for delaying missions should those budgets fall short.

The proposed missions, along with the existing “program of record” of missions in service today or under development, are intended to help scientists better understand the ways that the climate, water cycle, soil and other resources are changing, research the report argues can be uniquely done with satellites.

“Earth science and applications are a key part of the nation’s information infrastructure, warranting a U.S. program of Earth observations from space that is robust, resilient, and appropriately balanced,” the report states.

2018-Jan-07, 10:23 AM
What happened to the 2007 Earth science decadal survey missions?


Ten years after the National Academies published the first Earth science decadal survey, NASA has flown one of the 15 recommended missions with two more scheduled to launch in 2018.

The first decadal survey mission to reach orbit was Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP), a campaign to measure water in topsoil that has been in orbit since 2015. SMAP’s L-band radiometer continues to function, but its onboard radar quit after less than six months due to a faulty amplifier.

Next up are the twin satellites of the U.S.-German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On. The spacecraft, which are designed to circle the Earth in tight formation and detect changes in gravitational pull that reveal higher concentrations of mass, are at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California awaiting a March flight on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket alongside five Iridium Next communications satellites.

In September, NASA plans to launch Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, to monitor ice sheets, sea ice and glaciers, on the last Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg.