Stimulus Bill Includes Millions for Satellite Program
Here's a troubling one from Taxpayer's For Common Sense:
Spending on the National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System, a program to generate weather and climate data, has doubled over the last 14 years to $12.5 billion -- even though none of the satellites have been launched.
The taxpayer group is highlighting the program as part of its oversight of the Obama administration's stimulus package. Here's what they had to say in a recent blog:
"Despite energetic lobbying by the defense industry (and some lawmakers) the $825 billion stimulus bill now emerging from committee markups seems free of handouts for Air Force jets and other military hardware. But DOD will benefit from hundreds of millions going to NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for a fancy satellite program called the National Polar Orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS).
"A tri-agency project that will circle the globe picking up weather and climate data, NPOESS was intended to save money by replacing two similar systems operated separately by the Air Force and NOAA. Unfortunately, construction and testing bungles slowed things down so that 14 years later, the cost of the...program has doubled from $6.5 to $12.5 billion for four instead of six satellites. And the first bird has yet to make its maiden voyage."
We're going to be hearing a lot about stimulus money. It's going to flow bigtime. If you hear it's not going to the right people, places or things, please let us know.
Dear Readers: an earlier version of this post described the program cited above as partly run by Lockheed. A Lockheed official called to say that is not so. We trimmed the reference.
Alas, there's more on this front: A Northrop "senior communications manager" alerted us that they have Web pages devoted to the satellite program. There was a hint (but no detail) that the taxpayer group's posting was somehow not fully accurate. Was it the part about the assertion that $12.5 billion has been spent -- the taxpayer group says that's almost twice the original budget -- but there's still no satellite in orbit for the program? We'll soon find out and let you know.
OK. Here a note that Northrop's communications manager sent along, including added detail. She said "the taxpayer's group material was misleading on a number of points."
- NPOESS is the next-generation, low-Earth orbiting, weather and environmental satellite system.
- NPOESS will deliver higher resolution and more accurate data than existing systems, and will support improved accuracy in short-term weather forecasts and severe storm warnings.
- The improved coverage provided by NPOESS will allow the National Weather Service to substantially increase lead times on storm warnings and flooding with direct impacts on lives, property and the economy. Air travelers, farmers, emergyency preparedness and response organization, public health officials and water managers - just to name a few - will benefit from NPOESS data.
- The $12.5 billion represents the life cycle cost of NPOESS through 2026. That includes satellites, sensors, production, launch and operations."
Government Inc. believes that, apart from mixing up the prime contractors, the item by Taxpayer's For Common Sense was on point. In short, the program is way over the original budget and significantly delayed from its original timeline. That's according to a GAO report.
Anyway, enough. Thank you, Northrop, for the input. The rest of you? We're listening.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: kolbkl | January 27, 2009 9:25 AM
Posted by: mconcha1 | January 27, 2009 12:48 PM
Posted by: stnmsn8 | January 27, 2009 1:37 PM
Posted by: kolbkl | January 27, 2009 2:01 PM
Posted by: launchdirector | January 27, 2009 2:56 PM
Posted by: carolhitchie | January 27, 2009 6:09 PM
Posted by: dada_lope | January 27, 2009 7:20 PM
Posted by: hallbatross | January 27, 2009 8:17 PM
Posted by: Torrington1952 | January 28, 2009 10:45 AM
Posted by: launchdirector | January 28, 2009 10:51 AM
Posted by: nucon2004kc | January 28, 2009 12:45 PM
Posted by: mglanning | January 29, 2009 5:17 PM
Posted by: axf56730 | February 2, 2009 9:55 AM
Posted by: jjhan2 | February 2, 2009 9:59 AM
Posted by: observerveteran | February 2, 2009 2:51 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.