energy transferred from the solar wind is stored; FAST for a close look at the auroral acceleration process; SAMPEX for radiation belt response; TIMED for upper-atmosphere response; and IMAGE for global snapshots of geospace emissions stimulated by the solar inputs).

Conclusions and Recommendations for NASA

The committees believe that NASA has built an excellent Sun-Earth Connection multisatellite observatory that offers solar and space scientists unparalleled opportunities for research, but its investment will not yield maximum dividends unless this observatory is used to fullest advantage through the upcoming solar maximum. The broad-based support for the research addressed by this observatory is evident in the interagency NSWP3 and the surge of public interest in response to the events surrounding a solar eruption observed on January 6, 1997. Continuing the multisatellite observatory will also support construction of the International Space Station, which is scheduled to require many EVAs during a time of maximum solar activity. The timing is right for this constellation of spacecraft to have its maximum impact on the science issues it was designed to address.

  • The committees recommend that, at a minimum, NASA continue the existing International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program and related operating missions (ACE, Ulysses, Yohkoh, FAST, SAMPEX, and the Voyagers) through the forthcoming solar maximum. This includes acquiring high-quality data (e.g., through the DSN) and then validating, archiving, interpreting, and publishing them.

  • The committees also recommend the timely launches of TRACE, TIMED, and IMAGE and encourage U.S. participation in Equator-S and Cluster, so that spacecraft capable of making unique contributions will be available during the upcoming solar maximum observational campaign.

  • Finally, the committees recommend that a dedicated guest investigator program be initiated to complement the existing program during the solar maximum. Such a program would allow all selected investigators to have full use of the collected Sun-Earth Connection data to address the problems of the origin of solar activity and its effects in the solar system, especially its effects on Earth.


NOAA Roles and Responsibilities

NOAA supports critical elements of the nation's space environment information system infrastructure, including space environment measurements on the geosynchronous and polar orbiting NOAA weather satellites and the operation of the Space Environment Center (SEC) and National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) at NOAA facilities in Boulder, Colorado. The SEC is the primary provider of current space environment information for the nation's civilian customers, as well as a resource for other federal agencies (e.g., NASA, DOD, and DOE). Users look to the NOAA SEC for products and services ranging from educational and research


Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research,The National Space Weather Program: The Implementation Plan, FCM-P31-1997, Washington, D.C., January 1997.

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