Sullivan Nomination Hearing: It's Fish, Not Satellites

Sullivan Nomination Hearing: It's Fish, Not Satellites

In the space community, NOAA’s most important mission is operating weather satellites, but for the Senators deliberating on Kathy Sullivan’s nomination to head NOAA, it’s all about fish.

Sullivan, a former NASA astronaut who was the first American woman to make a spacewalk, is an oceanographer by training and in her second tour of duty at NOAA.   She was NOAA’s chief scientist in the Clinton Administration and returned to NOAA in 2011 as NOAA’s Deputy Administrator.   She became NOAA Acting Administrator in February with the departure of Jane Lubchenco.

President Obama nominated her to become NOAA Administrator and today a Senate Commerce subcommittee held a hearing on her nomination along with those of two individuals to serve at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).  Space issues were barely mentioned.

It was only very late in the hearing that subcommittee chairman Bill Nelson (D-FL) asked a couple of questions about satellites.  Overall, Senators focused on NOAA’s role in fisheries.  As Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, the focus of the hearing reflects “the significance of a coastal economy to our nation.”  Later Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) commented that he was aware of NOAA’s responsibility for satellites, but “fisheries is a pretty important issue for us” in Alaska.

Nelson’s satellite-related questions, and their answers, were very general and inquired about improving hurricane forecasting and tracking, using commercial assets, and the risk from solar flares.

User Comments has the right (but not the obligation) to monitor the comments and to remove any materials it deems inappropriate.  We do not post comments that include links to other websites since we have no control over that content nor can we verify the security of such links.