And a postscript on that critical Earth observing infrastructure…

As we all know, continuity – and indeed continuing improvement – in Earth observations are vital to the world’s peoples. This continuity is challenged long-term by funding constraints facing governments in the developed world. These problems remain.

But continuity in the immediate-to-short term appears to have been given a huge boost this morning with the apparent successful launch of NOAA’s NPP satellite from Vandenberg AFB. The satellite performance will be thoroughly checked-out over coming weeks, but so far everything looks good! Congratulations to the team of government agencies and private enterprise immediately responsible. A pat on the back to the Congress for the steadfast funding of this program which made success possible. A shout-out to every U.S. taxpayer. We all contributed.

You know what? In the last analysis, this is not merely a national milestone. It’s humanity’s latest achievement.

And it makes for a pretty good day for mankind.

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