51 U.S. Code Section 60603 - Sustaining and advancing critical space weather observations

(a) Policy.—It is the policy of the United States to—

(1) establish and sustain a baseline capability for space weather observations and to make such observations and data publicly available; and

(2) obtain enhanced space weather observations, as practicable, to advance forecasting and prediction capability, as informed by the integrated strategy in section 60602.

(b) Sustaining Baseline Space-based Observational Capabilities.—

(1) The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall, in cooperation with the European Space Agency and other international and interagency partners, maintain operations of the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory/Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph (referred to in this section as "SOHO/LASCO") for as long as the satellite continues to deliver quality observations.

(2) The Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration shall prioritize the reception of SOHO/LASCO data.

(3) The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall maintain, for as long as is practicable, operations of current space-based observational assets, including but not limited to the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites system, and the Deep Space Climate Observatory.

(c) Backup Space-based Observational Capability.—The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, shall work with Federal and international partners in order to secure reliable backup baseline capability for near real-time coronal mass ejection imagery, solar wind, solar imaging, coronal imagery, and other relevant observations required to provide space weather forecasts.

(d) SOHO/LASCO Operational Contingency Plan.—The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall develop an operational contingency plan to provide continuous space weather forecasting in the event of an unexpected SOHO/LASCO failure, and prior to the implementation of the backup space-based baseline observational capability in section 60603(c).

(e) Briefing.—Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of the PROSWIFT Act, the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shall provide a briefing to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate on the plan to secure reliable backup baseline capability described in subsection (c) and the SOHO/LASCO operational contingency plan developed under subsection (d).

(f) Sustaining Ground-based Observational Capability.—The Director of the National Science Foundation, the Director of the United States Geological Survey, the Secretary of the Air Force, and, as practicable in support of the Air Force, the Secretary of the Navy, shall each—

(1) maintain and improve ground-based observations of the Sun, as necessary and advisable, to help meet the needs identified in the survey under section 60601(d)(3); and

(2) continue to provide space weather data through ground-based facilities, including radars, lidars, magnetometers, neutron monitors, radio receivers, aurora and airglow imagers, spectrometers, interferometers, and solar observatories.

(g) Considerations.—In implementing subsections (b), (c), and (d), the Administrators of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Directors of the National Science Foundation and United States Geological Survey, and the Secretaries of the Air Force and the Navy shall prioritize cost-effective and reliable solutions.

(h) Ground-based Observational Data.—The Director of the National Science Foundation shall—

(1) make available to the public key data streams from the platforms and facilities described in subsection (d) for research and to support space weather model development;

(2) develop experimental models for scientific purposes; and

(3) support the transition of the experimental models to operations where appropriate.

(i) Enhanced Space-based Observations.—The Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, should develop options to build and deploy space-based observational capabilities, beyond the baseline capabilities referenced in subsection (b), that may improve space weather measurements and observations. These supplemental observational capabilities could include commercial solutions, prize authority, academic partnerships, microsatellites, ground-based instruments, and opportunities to deploy the instrument or instruments as a secondary payload on an upcoming planned launch.

Annotations
Citation
51 U.S.C. § 60603 (2021)
References
References in Text

The date of enactment of the PROSWIFT Act, referred to in subsec. (e), is the date of enactment of Pub. L. 116–181, which was approved Oct. 21, 2020.

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