Space weather research the focus of US House bill

January 10, 2020  - By

The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology has approved legislation to coordinate federal government space weather research. Included in the bill is a finding that space weather adversely affects space-based position, navigation and timing (PNT).

‘‘The effects of severe space weather on the electric power grid, satellites and satellite communications and information, aviation operations, astronauts living and working in space, and space-based position, navigation, and timing systems could have significant societal, economic, national security and health impacts.”

If passed, the bill would mandate coordination of government space weather forecasting and related operations, with input from academia, international groups and commercial firms affected by space weather.

The Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act was introduced in November by Democrat Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and Republican Mo Brooks of Alabama, reports Space News. Similar legislation, the Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, was approved in April by the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

PROSWIFT calls for the National Science and Technology Council to establish an interagency working group on space weather that includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NASA, the National Science Foundation, Defense Department and Interior Department. It directs members of the interagency working group to collaborate with the international community, academia and the commercial space weather sector.

PROSWIFT also tasks NOAA with establishing a space weather advisory group with members representing academia, the commercial space weather sector and space weather data customers.

Read the bill here.

The effects of space weather on critical Earth systems. (Image: NASA)

The effects of space weather on critical Earth systems. (Image: NASA)

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.