PROSWIFT Act Signed into Law
WASHINGTON, DC. The Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow Act or the PROSWIFT Act, designated as S. 881, was signed into law by the President on October 21, 2020.
This law will improve the ability of the United States to forecast space weather events and mitigate the effects of space weather. It provides statutory authority for the National Science and Technology Council’s Space Weather Operations, Research, and Mitigation Working Group, which coordinates executive branch efforts regarding space weather.
The bill directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation, Air Force, Navy, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Security Council, and Federal Aviation Administration to carry out specified space weather activities.
One feature in the law, widely supported in the commercial space weather sector, is the establishment of a Space Weather Advisory Group (SWAG), which will be composed of 15 representatives with membership split evenly between the academic, commercial, and end-user communities. SWAG’s first task will be to conduct a user survey to identify needs for research, observation, and other capabilities that underpin space weather-related services.
The agencies listed in the law must periodically review and update as necessary the benchmarks described in the report of the National Science and Technology Council titled Space Weather Phase 1 Benchmarks dated June 2018, 2020. Updates will be based on (1) any significant new data or advances in scientific understanding that become available, or (2) the evolving needs of entities impacted by space weather phenomena.
Another widely supported feature by the commercial space weather sector is that NOAA may establish a pilot program to offer contracts with entities in the commercial space weather sector for providing NOAA with space weather data that meets certain standards.
The American Commercial Space Weather Association (ACSWA) and Space Environment Technologies played a key role in supporting the passage of this bill starting in 2015. This support included Dr. Tobiska’s testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Joint Hearing by the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology on the Impacts, Monitoring, and Prediction of Space Weather (April 26, 2018). Space Environment Technologies applauds Congress for passing this bi-partisan bill in both houses and looks forward to it becoming law with a Presidential signature.