The Earth, and particularly its climate, is changing. Earth science, therefore, is also changing. And, with those changes, come revisions on not just the missions needed to carry out the science, but how they should be selected.
NASA plans to begin awarding sole source contracts in March to companies flying small satellite constellations as part of an Earth science data pilot program.
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.
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.
NASA expects to purchase Earth science data from constellations of commercial satellites early next year to see how useful they are in meeting the agency’s research needs.
The new decadal survey for Earth science research will likely be unveiled in early January, slightly later than previously planned.
An aging German-American Earth science mission will come to an end this fall, months before the launch of a next-generation satellite pair.
An appropriations bill approved by a Senate committee July 27 would restore funding for several NASA Earth science missions slated for termination by the administration as well as a satellite servicing program.
As Senate appropriators prepare to mark up a NASA spending bill, agency officials are both downplaying the effects of proposed cuts on its Earth science program while also hoping the Senate reverses them.
As members of Congress took credit for NASA funding levels in a fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending bill, the agency’s science leadership is examining how those funds will affect its programs.
Last month's budget proposal included terminating four planned or operational missions designed at least in part to collect climate-related data.
A fiscal year 2018 budget proposal released by the Trump administration March 16 would cancel NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and several Earth science programs, but spares NASA the deeper cuts proposed for many other agencies.
NASA is ready to move ahead with plans to purchase Earth science data from commercial smallsat companies as it weighs the balance of large and small satellite systems to meet its research needs.
The head of NASA’s Earth science division says he does not expect major changes in his programs for the remainder of the fiscal year despite a change in administrations.