In FY 1999, the DoC engaged in a wide variety of activities that furthered U.S. interests in aeronautics and space, including satellite operations and licensing, technology development, civilian and commercial space policy support, trade promotion, and patent approval. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) engaged in a number of space activities during FY 1999. Within the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS), Gregory W. Withee was named Assistant Administrator for Satellite and Information Services in May 1999. NESDIS operates the U.S. civil geostationary and polar-orbiting weather satellites, maintains environmental data used by scientists throughout the world, and licenses the commercial remote-sensing industry.
NOAA's polar satellitesNOAA-14 and NOAA-15, launched in December 1994 and May 1998, respectivelycontinued to monitor the entire Earth, tracking atmospheric variables and providing atmospheric data and cloud images. These satellites continued to send more than 16,000 global measurements daily via NOAA's command and data acquisition stations and provide valuable information for forecasting models, especially for remote ocean areas for which conventional surface observations are lacking.
In May 1999, a $91 million contract was awarded to Ball Aerospace Technologies to develop a suite of satellite instruments that will significantly improve the accuracy of Earth's ozone measurements. The contract, for the design and fabrication of the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS), is to produce three OMPS units that will be flown as part of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program.
ITT Industries was awarded a $98 million contract in August 1999 to develop an advanced weather satellite instrument that will significantly improve weather forecasting and climate prediction. The contract is for a Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS), an advanced high-spectral-resolution infrared sounder to be flown aboard the U.S. environmental satellites of the future as part of the NPOESS. The first CrIS unit is to be flown on the NPOESS Preparatory Project mission, beginning in late 2005, to test and evaluate CrIS prior to the launch of the first operational NPOESS spacecraft in 2008.
These developments in the NPOESS program, as well as the transfer of satellite operations for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) to NOAA's Suitland, Maryland, facility, represented a major step forward in the merger of U.S. civilian and military operational environmental satellites into a single, national system. Once operational in the next decade, the NPOESS will satisfy both civil and national security requirements for space-based, remotely sensed environmental data.
Two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES)GOES-8 or GOES-East, stationed at 75 degrees west longitude (launched in April 1994), and GOES-10 or GOES-West, at 135 degrees west longitude (launched in April 1997)continued to provide the kind of continuous monitoring necessary for intensive data analysis during severe weather conditions. These satellites transmit full-disc views of the majority of the Western Hemisphere that provide a constant vigil for the atmospheric "triggers" for severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes, flash floods, hail storms, and hurricanes. When these conditions develop, the GOES satellites are able to monitor storm development and track the storms' movements. In addition to satellite operations, NOAA continued to provide space weather monitoring and forecasts to protect spacecraft and power grids during the current solar maximum expected to peak in 2000.
The launch of GOES-L, originally planned for May 1999, was delayed to allow NASA, NOAA, and rocket manufacturers time to review recent launch failures. Successfully launched in May 2000, GOES-L will be stored onorbit, ready for operation when needed as a replacement for GOES-8 or GOES-10. After showing signs of imminent failure during 1998, GOES-9 was moved and placed in storage mode at 105 degrees west longitude.
In June 1999, NOAA announced the transition of the surplus spacecraft GOES-7, which had been launched in 1987, to 175 degrees west longitude to support the Pan-Pacific Education and Communications Experiment by Satellite (PEACESAT) program, a public service satellite telecommunications network that links educational institutions, regional organizations, and governments in the Pacific islands region. The 23-year-old satellites, GOES-2 and GOES-3, that PEACESAT was previously using for communications were finally brought out of orbit and replaced by the sturdier GOES-7. The PEACESAT program, a partnership with the University of Hawaii, uses a NOAA Command and Telemetry Processor that is no longer needed to operate the newer GOES satellites.
NOAA participated with NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey in planning to support Landsat 7, which was successfully launched in April 1999. NOAA operational responsibilities for Landsat were transferred to NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey later in the year.
A number of key milestones in NOAA's efforts to promote the commercial remote-sensing industry occurred in FY 1999. With the launch of the world's first 1-meter commercial remote-sensing satellite, Space Imaging's Ikonos 2, in September 1999, the United States regained its qualitative lead in the global imagery market, thus fulfilling the vision of Congress and the Administration for a robust U.S. space industry. NOAA also licensed the world's first hyperspectral satellite systems in 1999. Four amendments and four foreign agreements were also approved, enabling U.S. licensees to garner the investment and foreign partnerships needed to sustain these complex systems. Finally, in keeping with its statutory responsibilities, NOAA established a monitoring and compliance program, including the recruitment of the first two full-time officers.
In the area of international cooperation and activities, NOAA continued its involvement in activities associated with the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). The former NESDIS Assistant Administrator headed the CEOS Strategic Implementation Team which is involved in further development of the Integrated Global Observing Strategy (IGOS). A NESDIS senior official chaired the CEOS Disaster Management Support Project, spearheading the pursuit of a number of activities in conjunction with other disaster management and space agencies.
NESDIS cohosted the U.S.-Japan Global Observation Information Network (GOIN) Symposium and Workshop in Honolulu, Hawaii, in March 1999 with the University of Hawaii and NASA, at which Internet-based global exchanges of data sets for environmental monitoring and scientific work were demonstrated. Begun as a demonstration project under the U.S.-Japan Common Agenda, the continuation of the GOIN work is being transferred to CEOS.
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator, Dr. D. James Baker, provided the keynote address at the 2nd Global Disaster Information Network (GDIN) meeting held in Mexico City in May 1999. GDIN continues to build a constituency and framework to share disaster information among data providers and data users to lessen the loss of life and property from natural and technological disasters.
At the request of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NESDIS participated in U.S. Government-sponsored Hurricane Mitch reconstruction and development activities in Central America. The NESDIS activity, part of a DoC-wide initiative, involves the installation of a regional satellite ground receiving station. This will enhance access to and the use of GOES and Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) imagery by the national meteorological and hydrological agencies in Central America for weather forecasting and disaster preparation, management, and mitigation. As requested by USAID Brazil, NESDIS continued to work with the government of Brazil, using satellite imagery to detect wildfires that threaten the Amazon rainforest.
The NOAA Administrator headed the U.S. Government delegation to the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III), held in Vienna, Austria, in July 1999. NESDIS specialists participated in panels focusing on the use of satellites for weather forecasting, environmental monitoring, and disaster management.
In 1999, NOAA's National Geodetic Survey (NGS) conducted an evaluation of the suitability of RADARSAT imagery for delineating shoreline for hydrographic support and nautical charting in Alaska. As an aid in change analysis, NGS used high-resolution, spaceborne imagery as a reconnaissance tool to evaluate the temporal accuracy of previously mapped shoreline data. NGS began experimenting with a wide variety of spaceborne commercial imagery to conduct similar studies of shoreline accuracy.
NGS observed radio signals from the U.S. GPS satellites to develop new models of the ionosphere. NGS created a global model of Total Electron Content, using GPS data from globally distributed International GPS Service for Geodynamics (IGS) stations and its own National GPS Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS) network. The model compares favorably with those produced by other IGS analysis centers. Specific software was developed that continuously applies an ionospheric correction to GPS carrier phase measurements.
As chair of the Federal Geodetic Control Subcommittee of the Federal Geographic Data Committee, NGS continued its work to strengthen ties between the GPS positioning and navigation communities and to ensure that GPS meets the needs of Federal civilian service users. Also, as chair of the GPS Interagency Advisory Council, NGS led in the development of recommendations to the Interagency GPS Executive Board (IGEB) regarding the design and funding for future civilian GPS signals.
Throughout 1999, DoC played a critical role in the management of GPS as a member of the IGEB. To support the day-to-day functions of the board, NOAA and the Technology Administration (TA) collaborated to establish a permanent IGEB Executive Secretariat within the DoC building. The new office includes representatives from NOAA, TA, and other departments. NOAA, TA, and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) participated in a number of IGEB working groups, including technical and budgetary efforts that led up to and stemmed from Vice President Gore's January 1999 announcement of a $400 million GPS modernization initiative. To highlight the civilian interest in GPS modernization, DoC led an assessment of U.S. industry uses of GPS. As part of this assessment, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Robert Mallett hosted a roundtable meeting with industry executives to hear how their businesses might be affected by a more robust GPS service.
DoC also served on a number of U.S. delegations that met with Europe and Japan to promote GPS and discuss possible areas of international cooperation in satellite navigation. TA served as the lead representative of U.S. commercial interests on these delegations. In October 1999, DoC chaired and hosted the first meeting of the bilateral U.S.-Japan working group on commercial and scientific uses of GPSone of three working groups created by President Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Obuchi.
During FY 1999, TA's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provided metrology support, modeling, and development activities for a variety of aeronautics and space activities. NIST scientists and engineers worked with NASA on more than 45 projects. NIST developed design requirements for a superaccurate atomic clock to be used in Earth orbitthe Primary Atomic Reference Clock in Space (PARCS)and developed a critical element for the space clock. NIST continued to supply the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with time and frequency reference services for the NASA Deep Space Network. NIST completed a project to supply NASA with software tools to evaluate fire-detector systems in high-bay spaces, such as those used in staging and assembly for Space Shuttle missions.
NIST also developed and delivered to NASA's Johnson Space Center a special refrigerator system to be used to liquefy oxygen to generate the liftoff fuel on Mars for the return to Earth of a future Mars lander. NIST produced a mathematical model to take into account the effects of convection during crystallization, which will aid NASA in the interpretation of crystal growth under microgravity conditions. NIST scientists and engineers developed special instrumentation used to calibrate the x-ray optics and detectors of NASA's orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory and performed dimensional verification measurements of the analyzer element of Chandra. Finally, NIST demonstrated new high-sensitivity detector technology suitable for creating imaging arrays for Goddard Space Flight Center's Constellation-X satellite program and other NASA Earth and space applications.
During FY 1999, DoC continued its efforts to foster an economic and policy environment that promotes the global preeminence of the U.S. commercial space industry. TA and the International Trade Administration (ITA) served as advocates for the U.S. commercial satellite-imaging industry during high-level interagency meetings and government-to-government meetings on U.S. remote-sensing policy regarding Canada, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, and Spain. TA and ITA also represented the interests of the U.S. launch and satellite industries during preparations for annual consultations with China, Russia, and the Ukraine on commercial space launch services. In November 1999, the United States and Russia finalized an exchange of diplomatic notes, which amended the U.S.-Russia Commercial Space Launch Agreement and increased the level of trade in launch services allowed under the agreement.
TA and ITA also participated in a White House-led review of the U.S. space launch bases and ranges. The review was initiated in March 1999 in light of increasing commercial space launch activity over the past 5 years, particularly at Cape Canaveral Air Station in Florida and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. During the review and the development of recommendations for future launch range management, DoC provided inputs reflecting the concerns of the commercial launch industry.
In FY 1999, ITA continued to assist the U.S. aerospace industry in competing in the global marketplace. In April, ITA and other Federal agencies mounted a campaign to persuade the European Union to withdraw or suspend its new regulations restricting civil aircraft that are modified with noise reduction devices, including aircraft engine "hushkits." These regulations threaten to erode U.S. sales in Europe and disrupt efforts to establish a more stringent noise standard in the International Civil Aviation Organization. The regulations have not been overturned, but U.S. efforts continued in this regard. ITA was instrumental in securing tariff waivers for U.S. exports of aircraft to Russia under a bilateral agreement on Aircraft Market Access. ITA also supported the efforts of the U.S.-China Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade to expand intergovernmental cooperation and trade in civil aviation and airports.
To promote U.S. aerospace exports, ITA sponsored Aerospace Product Literature Centers at seven major international exhibitions and air shows in Australia, China, France, Malaysia, Russia, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. The program generated more than 8,500 trade leads for U.S. firms. ITA also supported U.S. contract bids in international competitions to supply helicopters, commercial transport aircraft, satellites, and space launch vehicles. ITA sponsored the U.S. National Pavilion at the Paris Air Show in June 1999. The pavilion housed the exhibits of more than 125 companies, U.S. trade associations, and U.S. Government agencies. This marked the first appearance of the commercial space industry at the Paris Air Show.
ITA also continued its work to support U.S. access to satellite markets overseas through a variety of bilateral and multilateral initiatives. Under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications Services, ITA supported the U.S. Trade Representative's office in monitoring several aspects of the agreement, including provisions relating to market access for satellite service providers. ITA supported the inclusion of certain satellite products in the Information Technology Agreement II, with the goal of reducing tariffs and facilitating increased trade. With regard to Japan, ITA monitored compliance with the 1990 U.S.-Japan Satellite Procurement Agreement.
ITA updated its market data and projections on sales of aerospace and commercial space products and services, including aircraft, helicopters, satellites, and space transportation services. This information was published in the 2000 U.S. Industry and Trade Outlook.
In March 1999, to comply with the 1998 National Defense Authorization Act, the Bureau of Export Administration (BXA) transferred its export licensing authority for commercial communications satellites to the Department of State (DoS). Because DoS was not staffed to meet the additional workload, satellite export applicants were subjected to significant licensing delays. Furthermore, under the monitoring provisions of the legislation, U.S. manufacturers were forced to obtain DoS-issued Technology Transfer Agreements for the launch support of satellites previously licensed by DoC, even when the customer or launch service provider was a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally. The change in jurisdiction caused harm to U.S. satellite and component makers and incited a backlash from potential foreign buyers of U.S. satellites. Satellite manufacturers detailed many of these problems in testimony to Congress.
In FY 1999, BXA submitted its fourth annual report to Congress on Offsets in Defense Trade, which includes an analysis of impacts on the U.S. aerospace sector. Offsets are industrial compensation practices, required as a condition of purchase by foreign governments in either government-to-government or commercial sales of defense articles and services. Imports of aircraft and aircraft engine parts more than doubled from 1993 to 1998, thereby displacing U.S. subcontractors to a degree. Offsets are thought to have played a significant role in this trend.
BXA participated in an interagency group that conducted exploratory discussions with Canada and the Netherlands with the objective of reducing or eliminating offsets. The group also contacted NATO and other allies requesting discussion on offsets. In June 1999, BXA Assistant Secretary Roger Majak testified before the House Committee on Government Reform on the subject of defense trade offsets. Rising congressional interest culminated in the Defense Offsets Disclosure Act of 1999. This law created a Presidential Commission that will develop a strategy to eliminate offsets.
During FY 1999, NTIA continued to provide spectrum for Federal agencies to operate their respective radiocommunications systems associated with aeronautical and space operations. In addition, NTIA reviewed and approved Federal agency requests for spectrum to support future aeronautical and space radiocommunications systems. This includes 2 systems for DoC valued at $2.05 billion, 24 systems for NASA valued at $2.066 billion; and 3 systems for the Air Force. NTIA also coordinated 30 U.S. satellite systems internationally with other countries through the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to prevent interference to these systems as well as interference from these systems to other administrations' receivers.
NTIA participated in various ITU plenipotentiary conferences, radio conferences, technical study groups, and other forums. NTIA began its preparations for ITU World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 (WRC-2000) immediately after the close of WRC-97 and continued to do so through FY 1999. NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission developed draft U.S. proposals for WRC-2000 agenda items, which include a spectrum for third-generation wireless and sharing between nongeostationary and geostationary fixed satellite service systems. NTIA also contributed significantly to the Conference Preparatory Meeting by providing numerous technical papers on the aeronautical and satellite spectrum issues that were addressed at WRC-2000. These WRC positions and Conference Preparatory Meeting technical papers were also coordinated by NTIA with the Commission on Inter-American Telecommunications (CITEL).
NTIA undertook a number of policy initiatives regarding satellites and other space-based communications systems. Specifically, NTIA provided policy guidance on the restructuring of the International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (INTELSAT) and the privatization of the International Mobile Satellite Organization (INMARSAT).
In FY 1999, the Patent and Trademark Office granted 795 U.S. patents relating to aeronautics and space. The inventions disclosed in the patents broadly encompassed aircraft, missiles, satellites, space vehicles, and ancillary devices. These inventions promote innovation and discovery in vital technology fields, including the aeronautics and space industries.