WASHINGTON, D.C. – Cell phones, television service, air navigation systems, and electric grids could all be degraded Friday as a result of the latest space weather incident, first detected on Wednesday.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Environment Center in Boulder, CO, detected a large solar flare on Wednesday that is expected to reach Earth by today. 

The Space Environment Center (SEC) works to predict such solar events, minimizing the risk to systems that rely heavily on satellite performance.  The SEC is facing many challenges in the annual appropriation process, including being eliminated in the Senate’s version of the Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations bill.  A House Science Subcommittee will hold a hearing to examine the role of the United States’ space weather forecasting program, including the impact of the current budget environment.

Thursday, October 30, 2003
Subcommittee on Environment, Technology, and Standards – Hearing What is Space Weather and Who Should Forecast It?
10:00 A.M. – 12:00 NOON
2318 Rayburn House Office Building (WEBCAST)

Witness List:

  • Dr. Ernest Hildner, Director Space Environment Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • NASA Witness, TBD
  • Col. Charles L. Benson Jr., Air Force Weather Agency.
  • Mr. John Kappenman, Metatech Corporation, Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Mr. Hank Krakowski, Vice President of Corporate Safety, Quality Assurance and Security, United Airlines Weather Forecasting Office, Illinois.
  • Dr. Robert Hedinger, Executive Vice President, Loral Skynet, New Jersey.