The White House requested $5.4 billion for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for 2014, a modest increase compared with the agency’s 2013 request that would mostly be used to keep a next-generation geostationary weather satellite program on track to begin launching in 2015.

Included in the request U.S. President Barack Obama sent Congress April 10 is $956 million for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)-R series of spacecraft. That is roughly $150 million more than Obama’s 2013 GOES-R request and $200 million more than the Lockheed Martin-led program stands to get this year under the sequestered spending bill Congress enacted in March to keep the government operating through September.

That bill, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 933), is expected to provide NOAA with roughly $4.75 billion this year — about $310 million less than the White House had sought for 2013 and $650 million less than Obama is requesting for 2014.

NOAA’s 2014 request also includes $824 million for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS), down from the $916.4 million the agency sought for the program in 2013.

The reduction reflects a White House decision to give NASA $40 million next year for building three different climate science instruments previously planned for JPSS: the Clouds and Earth Radiant Energy System, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite-Limb, and the Total Solar Irradiance Sensor (see story, page 5). NOAA’s request also includes a new $62 million budget line to fund the Polar Free Flyer mission, previously known as Free Flyer-1 and included under JPSS. The proposed satellite will host NOAA’s Advanced Data Collection System-2, among other payloads.

Dan Leone is the NASA reporter for SpaceNews, where he also covers other civilian-run U.S. government space programs and a growing number of entrepreneurial space companies. He joined SpaceNews in 2011.Dan earned a bachelor's degree in public communications...