Satellite shelved after 2000 election to now fly

Apr 10, 2013 by Seth Borenstein

President Barack Obama is proposing dusting off and finally launching an old environmental satellite championed by Al Gore but shelved a dozen years by his 2000 rival George W. Bush.

Obama proposed Wednesday spending nearly $35 million in his 2014 budget to refurbish a satellite, nicknamed GoreSat by critics, that has been sitting in storage after it was shelved in 2001, months after Bush became president. It cost about $100 million by then with NASA's internal auditors faulting its cost increases.

In 1998, Gore, then vice president, proposed the idea of a satellite that would head nearly 1 million miles (1.6 million kilometers) out in deep space in a special gravity balancing area between Earth and the Sun. The satellite would gaze at Earth, beam down a continuous picture of our planet and take what scientists said was needed climate change measurements.

It originally was named Triana after the sailor on Christopher Columbus's crew who first sighted land in the Americas. NASA later changed its name to Deep Space Climate Observatory or DISCOVR. But it often got called GoreSat by opponents who called it an expensive screensaver for the vice president.

Since it was canceled, the satellite has been at Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington. In 2009 and 2010, NASA spent another $14 million to refurbish its instruments. NASA this year has spent $3.4 million to test it. Obama put $9.9 million in NASA's budget for two and $23.7 million in the budget of the or NOAA.

The new launch, paid for by the Air Force, is set for November 2014. It will be run by NOAA. Acting NOAA chief Kathryn Sullivan said its main mission will to give Earth warning when —which can zap power systems on the ground and fry satellite electronics—are on the way. That job is now being done by a that has surpassed its scheduled lifetime, she said.

"It is indeed still a valuable instrument," said Sullivan, a former astronaut.

Explore further: Image: Rosetta's comet looms

4.6 /5 (8 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA, NOAA set to launch NOAA-N Prime satellite

Jan 22, 2009

NASA is preparing to launch NOAA'S latest polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite, called NOAA-N Prime, providing an essential resource for NOAA's weather forecasts and improving the U.S. search ...

NASA, NOAA Ready GOES-P Satellite for March 2 Launch

Feb 23, 2010

The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-P, or GOES-P, is scheduled for launch aboard a Delta IV rocket on Tuesday, March 2, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The one-hour launch window extends ...

NASA and NOAA's newest GOES satellite ready for action

Sep 01, 2010

NASA and NOAA's latest Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite, GOES-15, has successfully completed five months of on-orbit testing and has been accepted into service. The satellite has demonstrated ...

NASA to launch weather-climate satellite Friday

Oct 27, 2011

The US space agency is preparing to launch a satellite Friday that will send back data on climate and weather to better help forecasters predict major storms and other changes in the environment.

Recommended for you

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

2 hours ago

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

A salty, martian meteorite offers clues to habitability

2 hours ago

Life as we know it requires energy of some sort to survive and thrive. For plants, that source of energy is the Sun. But there are some microbes that can survive using energy from chemical reactions. Some ...

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

packrat
3 / 5 (8) Apr 10, 2013
"It is indeed still a valuable instrument," said Sullivan, a former astronaut."
Already having spent 117 million on it, I would say yes it is a valuable instrument too but only if it ever actually gets in space. Otherwise it's just another overpriced government sponsored piece of electronics junk.
gwrede
3 / 5 (8) Apr 10, 2013
Oh, George, oh, George. "Save" by shelving what you don't understand, while starting wars, the implications of which you don't understand either.

StarGazer2011
2.1 / 5 (7) Apr 10, 2013
Its amazing with all the billions spent on CAGW that nearly none has been spent on actual measurement.
VendicarE
2.6 / 5 (7) Apr 11, 2013
It is a crime what Republicans have done to America.