27 June 2017

Satellite Data

We've passed the 50th anniversary of the first meteorological satellite*, on to 60! Even though satellites have been used for decades, it's still far from simple to do so. Or, rather, it is much more involved than I used to think. I suppose it shouldn't really have been a surprise. Automated weather stations on earth have plenty of problems, and they're operating at earthly temperatures, near somebody who can fix minor problems if they occur, and do so before they become major problems.

By way of my day job (again, I do _not_ speak for my employer), I use satellite data and do so heavily enough that I'm on the mailing list for operational updates about the current status of the satellites, data receiving stations, and other parts of the system between my desk (well, the supercomputer at work) and the satellite.

One thing which has really impressed itself on me is that there is far more to satellites than launching them and waiting for lovely data to flow forth. Second is that there must be a large number of very highly skilled people working between the satellite and my desk to ensure that the data flows reliably, at high quality, and in a timely fashion.

Fortunately, though I'm about to name some challenges and problems, they're _known_ problems and challenges, with solutions. Engineers don't like leaving problems standing. Problems are things to be solved! So, a few stories:

26 January 2017

March for science

Dates to be determined, but there is an effort developing to have a march for science in the US.  There's a facebook group, and facebook messenger at @marchforscience, twitter as @ScienceMarchDC, and the main web site.  Things are evolving rapidly, having started very recently and now being over 90,000 in the facebook group.  One change being that it has moved from being a march by scientists to being a march for science.

Something which occurs to me as useful to know is senators and representatives whose states or districts have large numbers of scientists or companies which do large amounts of science or contracting.  Some which occur to me:

Some Large Centers
(Places, Senators, Congressperson)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD -- Chris van Hollen, Ben Cardin --  Steny Hoyer (MD-5)
NOAA Headquarters, Silver Spring, MD -- Chris van Hollen, Ben Cardin -- ?Jeremy Raskin
Argonne National Lab, IL --
NASA Marshall, Huntsville, AL --
NASA Ames, CA --
NASA Johnson, Houston, TX --
Los Alamos National Lab, Los Alamos, NM --
National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL --
National Severe Storms Laboratory, Norman, OK --
National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC --
Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA --

Companies that build earth satellites:
Boeing (HQ in Seattle, WA, but many other offices) --
Lockheed Martin (HQ in Bethesda, MD, ditto) -- Chris van Hollen, Ben Cardin --
Orbital ATK (HQ Dulles, VA, ditto) --
Space Systems Loral (HQ Palo Alto, CA, ditto)


I've missed many areas, please add to my list.  Also, please work on adding to the list of states and congressional districts.  I expect that every state and most congressional districts have at least one large employer which depends on science.  It helps to have names and places.