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Blog Entries from April 2010

NOAA: Deepwater Incident, Gulf of Mexico Effort

Trajectory map--PDF.

The Deepwater Horizon incident declared a Spill of National Significance (SONS). A SONS is defined as "a spill that, due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on the public health and welfare or the environment, or the necessary response effort, is so complex that it requires extraordinary coordination of federal, state, local and responsible party resources to contain and clean up the discharge," and allows greater federal involvement. Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is assisting the Unified Command in evaluating a new technique to apply dispersants to oil at the source—5000’ below the surface. If successful, this would keep plumes and sheens from forming. (More) (NOAA-Deepwater) (Trajectory map 1—PDF) (IncidentNews: Deepwater Horizon)

Secretary Locke Holds Exports Town Hall with Philadelphia Businesses

National Export Initiative logo. Click for more NEI information.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited PENN Fishing Reels to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative and how it can help companies sell more of their goods and services overseas and create new jobs at home. Following a tour of the company’s manufacturing facility, Locke held a town hall meeting to highlight government resources available to businesses interested in selling their goods and services abroad. Locke was joined by U.S. Sen. Robert Casey, U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and Mayor Michael Nutter. (More) (NEI) (Remarks)

Door-to-Door Visits Begin for 2010 Census, Census Takers to Follow Up with About 48 Million Households Nationwide

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

About 635,000 2010 Census takers across the nation begin going door to door tomorrow to follow up with households that either didn’t mail back their form or didn’t receive one. An estimated 48 million addresses will be visited through July 10. “America’s had a very successful first half of the 2010 Census, where more than 72 percent of the nation’s households mailed back their census forms,” U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves said. “But achieving a complete and accurate census requires us to now go door to door to count all the remaining households we’ve not heard back from.” (More) (Take 10 participation map)

Secretary Locke Statement on Advance Estimate of Real GDP in the First Quarter of 2010

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the first quarter of 2010. Real GDP grew 3.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter, consistent with private-sector expectations. “With a third-straight quarter of growth, it’s clear America’s economy is turning around,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. “But Americans remain rightly focused on their personal financial situations and jobs. Wall Street reform is an essential part of securing the future for our families and businesses. (More) (Release)

Secretary Locke Announces NIST to Lead National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education

Locke at podium.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today at the Business Software Alliance Cybersecurity Forum that the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Obama administration’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE). This initiative expands the government’s cyber security education efforts into a national focus that will establish an operational, sustainable and continually-improving cyber security education program for the public and private sectors focused on sound cyber practices. (More) (Remarks)

Commerce Department Grant Advances President Obama's Commitment to Creating Jobs, Strengthening Economy in Central Florida

EDA seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a $2 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority of Titusville, Florida, to assist in the expansion of the Bristow Academy, a major helicopter pilot training facility, and create new Central Florida aerospace sector jobs. The project is expected to save 155 jobs, create 97 jobs and generate $2 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. (More)

Secretary Locke Delivers Keynote Remarks at the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum

Photo of Secretary Gary Locke.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke addressed the U.S.-Saudi Business Opportunities Forum today focusing on economic collaboration between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, mutually beneficial business opportunities, and the Obama Administration’s National Export Initiative. At the forum, Locke announced plans for the Commerce Department to lead two trade missions to Saudi Arabia this year. Locke also met with his counterpart Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Alireza to discuss bilateral trade issues and areas for enhanced cooperation between the two countries. (Release) (Remarks)

Commerce's NIST Issues Landmark Fire Study on Saving Lives and Property

Photo of NIST researchers outside of burning building.

A landmark study issued today by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that the size of firefighting crews has a substantial effect on the fire service's ability to protect lives and property in residential fires. Performed by a broad coalition in the scientific, firefighting and public-safety communities, the study found that four-person firefighting crews were able to complete 22 essential firefighting and rescue tasks in a typical residential structure 30 percent faster than two-person crews and 25 percent faster than three-person crews. (Release) (Report)

Secretary Locke Highlights the Importance of Entrepreneurship at Opening of Presidential Summit

Secretary Locke on Panel at Opening of Presidential Summit. Click here for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke opened the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center addressing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business leaders, educators, and stakeholders from over 50 countries on five continents. Together with President Obama, the Commerce and State Departments hosted the summit, highlighting the work and talents of entrepreneurs from Muslim-majority countries and Muslim communities around the world. Following his remarks, Locke moderated the opening panel discussion on successful entrepreneurship. (Remarks) (Fact sheet)

America Matches Mail Participation Rate from 2000 Census

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today congratulated the nation for its strong participation in the 2010 Census to date, as the Census Bureau released the latest mail participation data showing that 72 percent of U.S. households have mailed back their 2010 Census forms so far—the same rate the nation achieved at the end of the mail-back period during the 2000 Census. “It’s fantastic that we were able to match the 2000 participation rate despite all the predictions that it couldn’t be done,” Locke said. (More)

Secretary Locke Celebrates Earth Day at Recovery Act Restoration Project in New Jersey

Photo of globe.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today celebrated Earth Day at an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) restoration project that is putting people back to work transforming a local dump into 35 acres of wetland and creating a new public trail in Lincoln Park. “The jobs that are being created here in New Jersey are a critical and growing part of the green economy,” Locke said. “Not only are coastal restoration projects like this one directly employing people, they are preserving the coastlines that are absolutely essential to America's economy.” (Release) (Remarks)

New Commerce Department Reports Lay Foundation for Measuring Green Economy, Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Photo of ESA Under Secretary Rebecca Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration today released two new reports: one that defines and measures the size and scope of the green economy and another that looks at the ways in which the American economy's greenhouse gas emissions have changed over the past decade. Together, they provide valuable analytic tools needed to understand the emerging green economy, quantify greenhouse gas emissions and help inform future policy decisions. (More)(Green Report)(CO2 Report)

Secretary Locke Announces Public Review of Privacy Policy, Launches Internet Policy Task Force

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced the launch of an initiative designed to gather public input and review the nexus between privacy policy and innovation in the Internet economy. In addition, Locke also announced the formation of a Department of Commerce-wide Internet Policy Task Force to identify leading public policy and operational issues impacting the U.S. private sector's ability to realize the potential for economic growth and job creation through the Internet. (More)

Secretary Locke Links Haiti Reconstruction Needs with Capabilities of U.S. Firms

Locke and Delatour on stage shaking hands. Click for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke reaffirmed the support of the Obama administration and the Commerce Department for Haiti’s reconstruction efforts following January’s devastating earthquake at today’s Haiti Reconstruction Business Dialogue hosted at the Department. Locke was joined by senior government and private sector representatives to discuss how American companies can help aid Haiti’s reconstruction efforts. Haitian Minister of Tourism Patrick Delatour (shown with Locke), who is charged with leading Haiti’s reconstruction efforts, briefed businesses on the country’s pressing needs. (More) (Remarks)

NOAA Awards $73.6 Million Recovery Act Contract for New Fisheries Survey Vessel

NOAA logo

Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awarded a $73.6 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contract to Marinette Marine Corporation located in Marinette, Wisconsin, for the construction of a new fisheries survey vessel, which will dramatically improve NOAA’s ability to conduct surveys for fish, marine mammals and turtles off the U.S. “Thanks to the Recovery Act, this new vessel will greatly enhance our understanding of our ocean resources and play a vital role in supporting NOAA’s mission,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.” (More)

Commerce Issues Report on Role of Patent Reform in Supporting Innovation and Job Creation

USPTO seal

Reforming America’s patent system will accelerate economic growth and job creation, and expand America’s ability to innovate, according to a new report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The paper, titled “Patent Reform—Unleashing Innovation, Promoting Economic Growth and Producing High-Paying Jobs,” was authored by the Commerce Department’s Chief Economist Mark Doms, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) Chief Economist Stuart Graham and USPTO’s Administrator for External Affairs Arti Rai. (More) (Report)

Commerce's NOAA Tracks Ash from Iceland Volcano

Image of video screen. Click to go to video clip.


The eruption of a volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier of Iceland on Wednesday, April 14, sent ripple effects around the globe as it halted international flights to and from Northern Europe. Airborne volcanic ash posed a threat to jet engines, and to prevent disaster, air traffic controllers grounded planes. From the earliest moments of the eruption, a global network of Volcanic Ash Advisory Centers began monitoring the ash plume and the appropriate centers issued advisories about flow of the ash through the atmosphere. There are nine such centers, each responsible for a defined geographic region. (More) (Video clip) (Image of ash cloud)

Commerce Secretary Locke Addresses Economic Development Professionals at Federal Forum

U.S. Department of Commerce seal.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke delivered remarks at the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Federal Economic Development Forum today. Locke spoke about the critical role federal economic development agencies play in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship within local communities. The IEDC works to help economic development professionals create high-quality jobs, develop vibrant communities and improve the quality of life in their regions. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez joined Locke at the forum. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Attends President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board (PERAB) Meeting, Livestream from White House Toda

White House meeting

Image: White House video

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will join Vice President Joe Biden, Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, White House officials and PERAB members at the exports-focused meeting hosted by President Barack Obama. The meeting will address a range of economic issues, including job creation, financial reform and the President’s proposal to double the number of exports over the next five years. (On-demand video)

Census: Last day to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms?Residents Urged to Act Today to Save Taxpayer Money

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

Today marks the last day for residents across America to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires. Households that return their forms after April 16 will likely be visited by census workers when they begin May 1 going door to door to collect census responses. Residents are encouraged to mail back their 2010 Census forms today. Those who wait to mail back their forms should expect to be visited by census workers, who will visit homes in person to ensure an accurate count of every person living in the United States. (More) (Take 10 participation map) (There’s Still Time)

Secretary Locke Statement on New Residential Construction in March 2010

Commerce Department seal

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released new residential construction data for March 2010. Permits for new housing units jumped 7.5 percent in March, housing starts increased 1.6 percent in March and starts in February were revised up considerably. Permits have advanced 37.6 percent and starts have risen 30.7 percent above their low points in April 2009. (More)

Deputy Secretary Hightower Joins Vice President Biden in Pennsylvania for Groundbreaking of ARRA Project

Hightower on podium with Biden and others behind. Click for larger image.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower joined Vice President Joe Biden to kick off the groundbreaking of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) project, with funds administered by Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). EDA obligated all $147 million of its Recovery Act funds one full year ahead of schedule. Responding to aggressive goals set out by President Obama and Vice President Biden, the agency acted expeditiously. Recovery Act funds were delivered to communities where they were needed most. (Remarks)

New Commerce Report Shows Growing Exports Key to Job Creation

Image of Exports Report.

A U.S. Department of Commerce report released today confirms the importance of exports to the U.S. economy and the increasingly globalized marketplace. According to Exports Support American Jobs, in 2008, exports accounted for a record 12.7 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), and during a period of relatively flat job growth across the economy, supported a record number of jobs—more than 10 million. (More) (Report—PDF)

Countdown: Two Days Left to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

Today marks the two-day countdown for residents across America to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires. Households that return their forms after Friday, April 16 will likely be visited by census workers, who begin May 1 going door to door to collect census responses. Residents are encouraged to promptly mail back their forms, because doing so would reduce the cost of administering the census by $1.5 billion—funds that would be given back to taxpayers. (More) (en español) (Take 10 participation map)

NOAA: Global Temps Push Last Month Hottest March on Record

Temperature anomolies map. Click for larger image.

The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January-March period on record. The monthly National Climatic Data Center analysis, which is based on records going back to 1880. (More) (Temperature anomalies graphic). (State of the Climate report)

Secretary Locke Visits San Diego to Stress Importance of Exports in Competitiveness and Job Creation

Locke with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. Clicke for larger image.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke visited Solar Turbines, one of California’s top exporters, for a tour of the company’s facility and a discussion with local small business owners on how the National Export Initiative will help small- and medium-sized businesses grow and create jobs in their community. Locke viewed the exporting process for industrial gas turbine engines from assembly through shipment to nearly 100 countries. Earlier in the day, he delivered the keynote address at the North American Competitiveness, Innovation & Clean Energy 2010 Conference Luncheon. He also met with Canadian Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Gerardo Ruiz. (Solar Turbines remarks) (NAC remarks) (Release)

Secretary Locke Statement on March 2010 Retail Sales

Locke gesturing with microphone in hand.

File photo

The Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau today released retail sales for March 2010. Retail sales increased 1.6 percent compared with an expected increase of 1.2 percent, and recent months were revised upwards. Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales rose 0.6 percent. Retail sales have grown 7.6 percent over the past year. “The strong growth in retail sales demonstrates consumers’ increasing confidence in the economic recovery,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. (More) (Release)

NIST Develops Instrument to Detect Poultry Spoilage

NIST logo

Researchers at Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) designed an instrument that quickly and precisely sniffs trace amounts of chemical compounds that indicate poultry spoilage without damaging the product itself. The process can detect minute amounts of spoilage compounds and can be used by suppliers during all stages of processing, transport and storage. Several proactive measures are used in the United States to keep poultry from going bad between the time it leaves the farm to when it reaches the grocery cart. (More)

Secretary Locke Statement on February 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services

Department of Commerce seal

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke issued the following statement on the release of the February 2010 U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services report by the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Today’s report showed that U.S. exports in February 2010 increased by 0.2 percent to $143.2 billion from their January 2010 level. Imports in February increased 1.7 percent over January to $182.9 billion. (More) (Release) (Fact sheet)

Deputy Secretary Hightower, Rep. Peters Host Roundtable with Michigan Small Business Owners

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower joined Rep. Gary Peters in Farmington Hills, Mich. to meet with local small business owners, representatives from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Detroit Regional Chamber, to discuss the current business climate, growing manufacturing jobs and spotlight initiatives that are working to help improve Michigan’s economy. Hightower underscored the department’s commitment to provide technical and business assistance to small manufacturers. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Hosts Luncheon with New Chilean President Sebastián Piñera and U.S. Companies

Locke and Pinera shaking hands.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke hosted a roundtable dialogue and luncheon with new Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, Chilean and U.S. government officials, and select U.S. businesses at the Commerce Department today to match some of Chile’s post-earthquake reconstruction needs with the capabilities of U.S. companies. The Government of Chile estimates that the 8.8-magnitude earthquake on February 27 caused upwards of $30 billion in damages. President Piñera assumed office less than two weeks after the earthquake. (More)

Secretary Locke Announces Grants in Iowa to Aid Flood Rebuilding Efforts

Secretary Locke at podium

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke viewed new flood-resistant construction at the University of Iowa and announced grants totaling $30 million to assist in flood rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the 2008 Iowa flood—part of a continuing effort by the Obama administration to help those impacted by the flooding. Locke was joined by Governor Chet Culver, Congressman Dave Loebsack and Mayors Matt Hayek and Jim Fausett. Commerce’s Economic Development Administration will administer the grants. (Remarks) (Press release)

NOAA: U.S. Averaged Warmer-than Normal, Drier-than-Normal in March

Map of March temperature. Click for larger image.

NOAA’s State of the Climate report shows the March 2010 average temperature for the entire contiguous United States was warmer-than-average with several New England states experiencing one of the warmest March’s on record. Average precipitation for the U.S. was below normal, but heavy rainfall set March records in parts of the Northeast. Based on data going back to 1895, the monthly analyses are prepared by scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina. (More) (Temperatures) (Precipitation levels)

Secretary Locke Encourages Census Participation at New York Rally with Congressman Crowley

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined Congressman Joseph Crowley for a 2010 Census meeting with New York community leaders. Locke and others rallied community leaders from the Bronx and Queens to make a “last call” for New Yorkers to participate in the 2010 Census. Although heavily populated, New York City is traditionally undercounted in the census, which causes the city and state to lose important federal funding. In 2000, only 57 percent of New York City households returned their census forms. Communities around the nation are focusing on getting residents to mail back their forms in a “March to the Mailbox” effort. (Remarks)

Commerce Department Releases Open Government Plan

Screenshot of Commerce's Open Government Website

In response to President Obama’s Open Government Directive, the Department of Commerce released its first iteration of its Open Government Plan. The plan creates a process for making more data available to the public and identifies three flagship Open Government initiatives that help make the Commerce Department more accessible and interactive. In a blog post on the Department’s Open Government Web site, Secretary Gary Locke noted that the plan, “establishes clear goals and benchmarks for success, and lays the foundation for continued work on increasing openness, participation and collaboration at Commerce in the months and years to come.” (Open Government Plan) (Open Government Web site) (Secretary’s post)

NOAA's GOES-15 Weather Satellite Captures Its First Image of Earth

View of Eath taken by GOES-15. Click for larger image.

GOES-15, launched on March 4 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, joins three other NOAA operational GOES spacecraft that help the agency's forecasters track life-threatening weather—from tornadoes, floods and hurricanes—and solar activity that can impact the satellite-based electronics and communications industry. The black and white full-disk image shows North and South America with a storm system visible across the United States, indicated by a drape of clouds from New England westward to the central Plains. Further west is a cold front over the Rocky Mountains. Mostly clear skies are seen over the mid-Atlantic, southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, California and Mexico. (More)

Second Round of Census Forms Mailed to 40 Million Households

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

To reduce the estimated $2.7 billion cost of following up with households that fail to mail back their 2010 Census questionnaires, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun mailing second forms to approximately 40 million housing units in areas that had below-average response rates in the 2000 Census. “Census Bureau and a multitude of private sector research shows that sending a replacement questionnaire to households can significantly increase response rates in the end,” Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said. (More)

Rick Wade to Kick Off National Main Street Business Tour in Michigan

Wade on podium. Click for larger image.

Rick Wade, Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, will travel to Battle Creek and Jackson, Michigan to kick off a national tour that will take him to Main Streets across the country to meet with business leaders and hear directly from them about the challenges they face in this economy, taking their concerns and ideas back to Washington. Wade will meet one-on-one with business leaders, talk to larger groups at chambers of commerce and tour local plants and manufacturing centers during tour stops. (Remarks)

Norfolk, Va.-based NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson to Map Ocean Floor in Gulf of Mexico

Thomas Jefferson. Click for larger image.

Commerce’s NOAA Ship Thomas Jefferson, one of the most technologically advanced hydrographic survey vessels in the world, will depart its Norfolk, Va. homeport on April 6 to conduct a five-month long effort to map the seafloor and look for hazards to navigation off the Gulf coast. “The Gulf of Mexico has been affected by a number of large hurricanes in recent years, and our work will pinpoint the resulting hazards and shoals in these busy waters,” said Cmdr. Shepard Smith, Thomas Jefferson’s commanding officer. (More)

Secretary Locke Visits Chicago, Outlines Plans to Create American Jobs Through Exporting

Secretary Locke with participants.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke is at the University of Chicago for an export promotion forum with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin to discuss President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) and what it will do to help U.S. companies, especially small- and medium-sized businesses, sell more of their goods and services overseas. Also speaking at the forum are U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, SBA Administrator Karen Mills, and Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg. The NEI aims to double U.S. exports over the next five years while supporting two million American jobs. (Remarks)

Census Bureau Says It's Not Too Late to Mail Back 2010 Census Forms

2010 Census logo. Click to go to Web site.

As elected officials and community leaders across the nation take part in “Census Day” activities to increase local participation in the 2010 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau today announced that 54 percent of the nation’s estimated 134 million households have mailed back their census forms. While April 1 is officially designated as Census Day, the Census Bureau will continue to accept 2010 Census questionnaires by mail through mid-April. (More) (2010 Census Facts for Features) (Take 10 participation map)

Cities Across America Celebrate Census Day April 1 and Remind Residents to Mail Back Census Forms

Obama signing his form

White House photo

Communities nationwide are urging their residents to take 10 minutes today, April 1—Census Day—to fill out and mail back their 2010 Census forms if they haven’t already done so. As the official reference date for the once-a-decade civic ceremony, Census Day will serve as the point-in-time benchmark for the nation’s population count for the next 10 years. President Barack Obama recently signed and mailed in his Census form and today signed a presidential proclamation of Census Day. (More) (Census Day events—PDF) (Presidential proclamation)

Secretary Locke Explains Impact of New Health Care Legislation on Business

Portrait of Locke.

The Wall Street Journal today published an opinion piece by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on how reform of the American health care system will benefit businesses, helping them grow and become more competitive. “President Obama began his campaign to reform the American health-care system focused on three goals: protecting Americans' choice of doctors and health plans, assuring quality and affordable health care for all Americans, and reducing costs for families and businesses,” Locke wrote. (Opinion Editorial)

50th Anniversary of the Satellite that "Forever Changed Weather Forecasting"

One of the first satellite images. Click for a full version.

Fifty years ago today, the world’s first weather satellite lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and opened a new and exciting dimension in weather forecasting. Top leaders from Commerce’s NOAA and NASA hailed the milestone as an example of their agencies’ strong partnership and commitment to flying the best satellites today and beyond. The first image from the satellite, known as TIROS-1, was a fuzzy picture of thick bands and clusters of clouds over the United States. An image captured a few days later revealed a typhoon about 1,000 miles east of Australia. TIROS-1, a polar-orbiting satellite, weighed 270 pounds and carried two cameras and two video recorders. (More)