Artist's concept of the Glory spacecraft in orbit. Credit: NASA
Strong support from the White House and U.S. Congress will allow NASA to lay the groundwork for a vigorous and extensive Earth science program that includes 16 major missions scheduled for launch between 2011 and 2021, an agency official said.
"What a difference a year makes," Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth Science Division, said this month at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union here. "Last year things were a little bit dicey. This year we are moving forward rather dramatically."
In contrast to late 2009 when NASA's Earth Science Division faced growing demands in spite of constrained funding, the current five-year spending plan provides the division with an additional $2.4 billion over the previous budget blueprint, Freilich said.
If approved by Congress, that money will allow NASA "to go from flying one mission every couple of years to flying a couple of missions per year," he said.