Perlmutter's space weather bill passes committee

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Washington, D.C.-, January 10, 2020 | comments

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on Thursday advanced a bill from U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter to improve the forecasting and understanding of severe and potentially damaging space weather events.

“This issue first came to my attention over four years ago from CU-Boulder’s Dr. Dan Baker who provided testimony about the dangers of space weather events on the electric grid,” Perlmutter told the committee. He added later that “Colorado has some of the best minds, laboratories and research institutions on space weather in the country.”

 

Perlmutter defined space weather as electromagnetic activity, solar eruption, solar flare and radiation that come from the sun and can have “significant societal, economic, national security and health implications.”

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, R-Okla., cited economic impacts to electricity consumers from a “moderate” space event as being in the range of $400 million to $10 billion.

 

As passed by the committee, the Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow (PROSWIFT) Act would delineate the roles of more than a half dozen federal agencies as well as encourage sharing of information in the federal government and with academia or commercial forecasters.

Solar flares, committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, said, “can damage critical infrastructure such as satellite navigation systems, communications systems, and our electric grid. Space weather phenomena can also affect our astronauts and living and working in space.”

The top Republican member, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., stated his support by observing that the risks of space weather would only increase, as there are more “space-based assets providing services and information to us all.” 

Content originally published by Colorado Politics on January 10, 2020.
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Tags: Aerospace

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