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Contact: Pat Viets
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The nation's polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite program will be in the spotlight on March 22, when the team responsible for it is honored by the National Space Club for its outstanding contributions to the field of space.
The team, from the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will be represented by Michael Mignogno of NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service, and Karen Halterman of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, at the 45th Annual Goddard Memorial Dinner at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
On behalf of the NOAA/NASA team, Mignogno and Halterman will accept the prestigious Nelson P. Jackson Aerospace Award, named for one of the founders and past presidents of the National Space Club. Recipients of the award are selected annually by the National Space Club for their contributions to the astronautics, aircraft and missile industries. The NOAA/NASA team is being recognized for extraordinary success, over four decades, with the polar-orbiting spacecraft known as TIROS.
"We are indeed proud of the polar-orbiting program, and of the teamwork exemplified by both NOAA and NASA employees and contractors," said Greg Withee, NOAA assistant administrator for satellite and information services. "Since its inception 42 years ago, the polar program has achieved worldwide recognition, and we appreciate the National Space Club's selection of this program for the Nelson P. Jackson Award."
Since 1960, polar-orbiting satellites have collected environmental data from space in support of weather forecasts. NOAA's polar-orbiting environmental satellites provide daily global observations of weather patterns and environmental measurements of the Earth's atmosphere, its surface and cloud cover, and the space environment. These satellites also monitor the global sea surface temperature indicating the location, onset and severity of such events as El Niño, as early as possible. Longer lead times of these impending events allow emergency and agricultural managers to activate plans to reduce the impact of floods, landslides, evacuations, and droughts for potential crop loss. The satellites also carry search and rescue instruments that detect signals worldwide from aircraft or boats in distress.
Mignogno has been with NOAA for 22 years. Before serving as manager of the polar program, he was the Landsat program manager and commercial remote sensing licensing coordinator. In 1995 and 1999, he received the Department of Commerce's Bronze Medal for his contributions to the land remote-sensing program and the development of NOAA's remote sensing licensing program. Mignogno lives in Waldorf, Md., with his wife Jayne, their son, Brian, 19, and daughter Megan, 16.
Halterman has been with NASA for 13 years, working on the POES Program since 1994. She was the POES Observatory Manager and the Deputy POES Program Manager before receiving overall program responsibility. Previously she was employed by OAO Corporation where she worked as a NASA support contractor for 12 years. Halterman lives in Takoma Park, Md.