Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment

Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations

Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations

Space Studies Board

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES


THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu



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Satellite Observations of the Earth’s Environment Accelerating the Transition of Research to Operations Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations Space Studies Board Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate Division on Earth and Life Studies NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract 50-DGNA-1-90024 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with technical participation by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its subagencies. International Standard Book Number 0-309-08749-X (Book) International Standard Book Number 0-309-50782-0 (PDF) Library of Congress Control Number 2003107186 Copies of this report are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet, http://www.nap.edu. Copyright 2003 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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OTHER REPORTS OF THE SPACE STUDIES BOARD Assessment of Directions in Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (prepublication) (2002) Assessment of the Usefulness and Availability of NASA’s Earth and Space Mission Data (2002) Factors Affecting the Utilization of the International Space Station for Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences (prepublication) (2002) Life in the Universe: An Assessment of U.S. and International Programs in Astrobiology (2002) New Frontiers in the Solar System: An Integrated Exploration Strategy (prepublication) (2002) Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Applications Program Plan (2002) “Review of the Redesigned Space Interferometry Mission (SIM)” (2002) Safe on Mars: Precursor Measurements Necessary to Support Human Operations on the Martian Surface (2002) The Sun to the Earth—and Beyond: A Decadal Research Strategy in Solar and Space Physics (2002) Toward New Partnerships in Remote Sensing: Government, the Private Sector, and Earth Science Research (2002) Using Remote Sensing in State and Local Government: Information for Management and Decision Making (2002) Assessment of Mars Science and Mission Priorities (2001) The Mission of Microgravity and Physical Sciences Research at NASA (2001) The Quarantine and Certification of Martian Samples (2001) Readiness Issues Related to Research in the Biological and Physical Sciences on the International Space Station (2001) “Scientific Assessment of the Descoped Mission Concept for the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST)” (2001) Signs of Life: A Report Based on the April 2000 Workshop on Life Detection Techniques (2001) Transforming Remote Sensing Data into Information and Applications (2001) U.S. Astronomy and Astrophysics: Managing an Integrated Program (2001) Assessment of Mission Size Trade-offs for Earth and Space Science Missions (2000) Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPP and NPOESS Meteorological Satellites (2000) Future Biotechnology Research on the International Space Station (2000) Issues in the Integration of Research and Operational Satellite Systems for Climate Research: I. Science and Design (2000) Issues in the Integration of Research and Operational Satellite Systems for Climate Research: II. Implementation (2000) Microgravity Research in Support of Technologies for the Human Exploration and Development of Space and Planetary Bodies (2000) Preventing the Forward Contamination of Europa (2000) “On Continuing Assessment of Technology Development in NASA’s Office of Space Science” (2000) “On Review of Scientific Aspects of the NASA Triana Mission” (2000) “On the Space Science Enterprise Draft Strategic Plan” (2000) Review of NASA’s Biomedical Research Program (2000) Review of NASA’s Earth Science Enterprise Research Strategy for 2000-2010 (2000) The Role of Small Satellites in NASA and NOAA Earth Observation Programs (2000) Copies of these reports are available free of charge from: Space Studies Board The National Academies 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20001 (202) 334-3477 ssb@nas.edu www.nationalacademies.org/ssb/ssb.html NOTE: Listed according to year of approval for release.

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COMMITTEE ON NASA-NOAA TRANSITION FROM RESEARCH TO OPERATIONS RICHARD A. ANTHES, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Chair SUSAN K. AVERY, University of Colorado, Vice Chair MARK R. ABBOTT, Oregon State University GRANT C. AUFDERHAAR, The Aerospace Corporation GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Vaisala Meteorological Systems, Inc. RUSSELL KOFFLER, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (retired) PETER R. LEAVITT, Weather Information, Inc. WILLIAM L. SMITH, NASA Langley Research Center RICHARD W. SPINRAD, Office of the Oceanographer of the Navy PAUL D. TRY, Science and Technology Corporation CHRISTOPHER S. VELDEN, University of Wisconsin, Madison Committee on Earth Studies Liaisons MICHAEL H. FREILICH, Oregon State University WILLIAM B. GAIL, Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corporation Staff PAMELA L. WHITNEY, Study Director RICHARD LESHNER, Research Associate CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Senior Project Assistant CATHERINE A. GRUBER, Senior Project Assistant

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SPACE STUDIES BOARD JOHN H. McELROY, University of Texas at Arlington (retired), Chair J. ROGER P. ANGEL, University of Arizona JAMES P. BAGIAN, Veterans Health Administration’s National Center for Patient Safety ANA P. BARROS, Harvard University RETA F. BEEBE, New Mexico State University ROGER D. BLANDFORD, California Institute of Technology JAMES L. BURCH, Southwest Research Institute RADFORD BYERLY, JR., University of Colorado HOWARD M. EINSPAHR, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute (retired) STEVEN H. FLAJSER, Loral Space and Communications, Ltd. MICHAEL H. FREILICH, Oregon State University DON P. GIDDENS, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University RALPH H. JACOBSON, The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (retired) MARGARET G. KIVELSON, University of California, Los Angeles BRUCE D. MARCUS, TRW, Inc. (retired) HARRY Y. McSWEEN, JR., University of Tennessee GEORGE A. PAULIKAS, The Aerospace Corporation (retired) ANNA-LOUISE REYSENBACH, Portland State University ROALD S. SAGDEEV, University of Maryland CAROLUS J. SCHRIJVER, Lockheed Martin Solar and Astrophysics Laboratory ROBERT J. SERAFIN, National Center for Atmospheric Research MITCHELL SOGIN, Marine Biological Laboratory C. MEGAN URRY, Yale University PETER W. VOORHEES, Northwestern University J. CRAIG WHEELER, University of Texas, Austin JOSEPH K. ALEXANDER, Director

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AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD MAJ GEN WILLIAM W. HOOVER, U.S. Air Force (retired), Chair A. DWIGHT ABBOTT, Aerospace Corporation (retired) RUZENA K. BAJCSY, National Science Foundation ROBERT W. BAKER, American Airlines, Inc. (retired) JAMES (MICKY) BLACKWELL, Lockheed Martin (retired) ANTHONY J. BRODERICK, Aviation Safety Consultant SUSAN M. COUGHLIN, Aviation Safety Alliance ROBERT L. CRIPPEN, Thiokol Propulsion (retired) LT GEN DONALD L. CROMER, U.S. Air Force and Hughes Space and Communications Company (retired) JOSEPH FULLER, JR., Futron Corporation RICHARD GOLASZEWSKI, GRA Incorporated JAMES M. GUYETTE, Rolls-Royce North America JOHN L. JUNKINS, Texas A&M University JOHN M. KLINEBERG, Space Systems/Loral (retired) ILAN M. KROO, Stanford University JOHN K. LAUBER, Airbus Industrie of North America, Inc. LT GEN GEORGE K. MUELLNER, U.S. Air Force (retired) and Phantom Works, The Boeing Company DAVA J. NEWMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology JAMES G. O’CONNOR, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (retired) and Pratt & Whitney LT GEN MALCOLM R. O’NEILL, Lockheed Martin Corporation CYNTHIA SAMUELSON, Logistics Management Institute KATHRYN C. THORNTON, University of Virginia HANSEL E. TOOKES II, Raytheon International, Inc. DIANNE S. WILEY, Phantom Works, The Boeing Company THOMAS L. WILLIAMS, Northrup Grumman–Air Combat Systems GEORGE M. LEVIN, Director

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BOARD ON ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES AND CLIMATE ERIC J. BARRON, Pennsylvania State University, Chair RAYMOND J. BAN, The Weather Channel, Inc. ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution ROSINA M. BIERBAUM, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor HOWARD B. BLUESTEIN, University of Oklahoma RAFAEL L. BRAS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology STEVEN F. CLIFFORD, University of Colorado/Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences CASSANDRA G. FESEN, Dartmouth College GEORGE L. FREDERICK, Vaisala Meteorological Systems, Inc. JUDITH L. LEAN, Naval Research Laboratory MARGARET A. LEMONE, National Center for Atmospheric Research MARIO J. MOLINA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology MICHAEL J. PRATHER, University of California, Irvine WILLIAM J. RANDEL, National Center for Atmospheric Research RICHARD D. ROSEN, Atmospheric and Environmental Research, Inc. THOMAS F. TASCIONE, Sterling Software, Inc. JOHN C. WYNGAARD, Pennsylvania State University CHRIS ELFRING, Director

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Preface The operation of environmental data services is an important and challenging responsibility. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the agency charged with providing operational weather, climate, ocean, and space weather data, must ensure that these data are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to a host of users around the world. Once of interest mainly to operational meteorological institutions and academic researchers, these data are now being used by a growing and increasingly diverse set of users for making business decisions, managing natural resources and the environment, mitigating and responding to hazards and emergencies, and planning recreational activities, among other uses. The growth in the number and types of data users is putting continued pressure on NOAA to meet new and evolving user needs and, at the same time, to satisfy the expanding requirements of existing data users. The growing needs for environmental data are coupled with opportunities for more effective environmental information services, for new types of observations, and for improvements in prediction capabilities and in products offered by advanced technologies (both hardware and software) and by research that offers insights into improved understanding and use of the data. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) plays a key role in this process as a provider of new technologies. Other agencies, such as the Department of Defense (DOD), have functioned both as technology providers to NOAA’s environmental data system and as users of the system. How the process for transitioning NASA’s research and technologies into NOAA’s operational services could be improved is the subject of

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this report. Two forces—the mission to meet operational requirements and the opportunities to improve and expand predictive capability and services—create a dynamic tension that is inherent in decisions about how and to what extent NASA research and technologies can be transitioned into NOAA’s operational service system. Transitioning research opportunities into operational service can occur in several ways. One possibility is that the infusion of new technologies, through instruments or advanced sensors, satellite designs, numerical models, or algorithms, will take place within an agency—for instance, between agency research and operational centers. The transition process also involves external agencies and organizations, such as academic institutions and research and development (R&D) laboratories. NASA and NOAA have a history of successful transitions of research that have led to improvements in weather forecasts and climate monitoring. However, these transitions have often been of an ad hoc nature, and many have taken a number of years. A more rapid transition process would pay dividends in that the opportunities for societal benefit from publicly supported research would be more quickly realized. In April 2001, the Space Studies Board and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board hosted a pre-project planning meeting at which outside experts and NOAA representatives discussed a range of topics relevant to a long-range vision of the architecture, technology, and customer base of NOAA’s meteorological satellite program. As a result of this meeting, NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) requested that the National Research Council (NRC) convene a committee to study how to improve the process for transitioning research into operations at NOAA. NOAA invited NASA to become an equal partner in this endeavor, and the study was launched. THE CHARGE The NRC appointed the Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations under the auspices of the Space Studies Board, together with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate and the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, to review the issue of the transition of research into operations and to recommend ways to improve the process. Specifically, NOAA/NESDIS and NASA tasked the committee to do the following: Review the potential layers of new users for future operational measurements and assess the implications of the future set of user communities in terms of future needs and approaches for transitioning from research to operations; Examine examples of the heritage of current NOAA satellite sensors, capture the lessons that can be gleaned from that history, and review possible approaches

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that would smooth and speed the path from the conception of a research sensor to its eventual deployment in an operational satellite; Recommend principles for determining what levels of in-house capability will be required within NASA and NOAA and their government partners (including international partners) to ensure that there is a spannable distance between R&D experts and operational users; Identify opportunities for new approaches for evaluating new capabilities; and Identify possible approaches to enhance the infusion of new technology into the operational system in the future, and recommend means to implement a more systematic transition process that might shorten the cycle time for major program changes and make the system more responsive to user wishes. These might include still closer collaborations between NASA and NOAA, increased resources within NOAA for the conduct of instrument and satellite development, and the enlistment of international partners in a wide variety of possible roles. STUDY APPROACH In conducting its study, the committee held five meetings: the first three were devoted to gathering data, the fourth focused on preparing and revising the draft, and the final meeting was devoted to responding to reviewer comments. During these meetings, the committee considered input from a variety of sources. These included previous NRC reports; briefings and supplementary material provided by personnel from NASA, NOAA, and the DOD; discussions with individuals from international organizations such as the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, with representatives from private sector instrument and satellite development companies, and with public and private sector users of environmental data; discussions with representatives of the Office of Management and Budget and congressional staff; and the expertise and perspectives of members of the committee. The committee’s efforts have focused primarily on weather and climate because of the rich history of transitioning atmospheric research into weather forecasts and warnings, the importance of weather and climate to society, and the large amount of resources invested in weather and climate research and operations. However, the lessons learned and the recommendations contained in the report are likely to be applicable to transitions of research to operations concerning oceanographic and space weather data, and also to a broader range of federal government agencies, private sector companies, and other institutions. The committee would like to acknowledge the many individuals who briefed the committee or provided other background material, information, or input. They include Ghassem Asrar, NASA Earth Science Enterprise (ESE); Ron Birk, NASA ESE

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Applications Division; Dave Burridge, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF); Marie Colton, NOAA Office of Research and Applications; Michael Crison, NOAA/NESDIS; Franco Einaudi, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Edward Frazier, TRW, Inc.; Wallace Harrison, NASA Langley Research Center; Jack Hayes, NOAA National Weather Service; Frank Herr, Office of Naval Research; Tony Hollingsworth, ECMWF; Sarah Horrigan, Office of Management and Budget, Science and Space Branch; Joseph Jenney, ITT (retired); Dave Jones, StormCenter Communications, Inc.; Jack Kaye, NASA ESE Research Division; Col. Lawrence Key, U.S. Air Force, Directorate of Weather, Air and Space Operations; Michael Luther, NASA ESE; Max Mayfield, National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center; Robert Murphy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; David Rogers, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research; Richard Rood, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Stanley Scheidner, National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Integrated Program Office; Ray Taylor, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; William Townsend, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Louis Uccellini, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction; Stan Wilson, NOAA/NESDIS; Robert Winokur, Earth Satellite Corporation; Greg Withee, NOAA/NESDIS; and Erin Wuchte, Office of Management and Budget, Commerce Branch. Richard A. Anthes, Chair Committee on NASA-NOAA Transition from Research to Operations

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Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Farouk El-Baz, Boston University, George J. Gleghorn, TRW Space and Technology Group (retired), Brig. Gen. Albert J. Kaehn, Jr., U.S. Air Force (retired), Ari Patrinos, Department of Energy, Joyce Penner, University of Michigan, Robert J. Plante, Raytheon Systems Company, and Thomas Vonder Haar, Colorado State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of

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this report was overseen by Robert A. Frosch, Harvard University, and Maj. Gen. Eugene Fox, U.S. Army (retired). Appointed by the National Research Council, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Contents     EXECUTIVE SUMMARY   1 1   INTRODUCTION   9 2   THE RESEARCH-TO-OPERATIONS CONTEXT: BRIDGING THE VALLEYS OF DEATH AND LOST OPPORTUNITIES   12     Mission and Roles of NASA, NOAA, and DOD,   13     Research, Operations, and the “Push-Pull” Dynamic,   15     Time Scales in the Transitioning Process,   17     Spanning the Valleys of Death and Lost Opportunities,   18     Synergies Between Research and Operations,   20 3   THE IMPACT OF WEATHER AND CLIMATE ON SOCIETY AND A VISION FOR THE FUTURE   22     The Impact of Weather and Climate on Society,   22     Improvements in Weather Information Products,   23     Users of Weather and Climate Information,   27     The Unpredictable Nature of the Value of New Technologies,   30     A Vision for the Future: Toward an Earth Information System,   31

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4   OPPORTUNITIES IN SATELLITE REMOTE SENSING TO REALIZE THE VISION   35     Advances in Space-based Measurement Technologies,   36     Advances in Supporting Infrastructure,   37     Advances in Data Processing and Assimilation,   37     Programs Providing Transition Opportunities,   38     National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS),   38     Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) System,   39     Earth Observing System (EOS) and Post-EOS,   40     Earth System Science Pathfinder (ESSP) Program,   40     New Millennium Program (NMP),   41     NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP),   41     Other Programs,   41     Achieving the Vision of the Earth Information System,   42 5   PATHWAYS FROM RESEARCH TO OPERATIONS   43     Case Studies and Lessons Learned,   44     Transition Pathways and Processes,   47     Transition Challenges,   48     Transition Types,   50     Meteorological System Upgrades,   51     Algorithm and Data Product Improvements,   52     NASA Systematic Measurements to NOAA Operational Measurements,   54     NASA Exploratory Measurements to NOAA Operational Measurements,   54     Technology Demonstrations to Operational Systems,   55     Comparative Approaches,   56     Department of Defense,   56     European Space Agency Transitions to EUMETSAT,   57     European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts,   58     Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research,   58     Integrated Program Office (IPO),   59     Trends and Changes in Transition Processes,   60     Summary of Transition Issues,   64

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6   A MECHANISM FOR ACHIEVING EFFECTIVE TRANSITIONS   66     The Recommended Approach: Establish an Interagency Transition Office,   69     Alternative Approaches Considered,   74     Alternative Approach 1: Establish a New Transition Agency,   74     Alternative Approach 2: Retain But Improve the Current Case-by-Case Transition Approach,   75     Alternative Approach 3: Expand the Role of the NPOESS Integrated Program Office,   76     Alternative Approach 4: Use the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research,   78     Summary,   79 7   FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS   80     Interagency Transition Office,   81     Improving Communication and Coordination,   83     The Evaluation of Missions for Potential Transition Opportunities and the Need for Transition Plans,   84     Building a Flexible Operational Satellite System That Can Adjust More Quickly to New Science and Technologies,   86     REFERENCES   88     APPENDIXES         A Previous NRC Recommendations on Transitioning Research to Operations   93     B Case Studies of Transitions from Research to Operations   101     C Future Missions   139     D Biographical Information for Committee Members   152     E Acronyms   158

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