Perhaps the obvious, cynical suggestion is to convince the NSA that such a program could help their FISC-legal, responsible, super-effective and totally not used to spy on the American people national security programmes.
Then money would flow.
The convoluted thinking of the spooks needs a nudge!
Now you have gone and done it!
Hosted on what?
Re: Hosted payloads?
Well... One of the TLA snoop spooks might have some room on one of their launches, but they'll never tell.
India, China, Russia, or Japan might have some space to spare on one of their launches.
The ESA or Elon might spare some room if they asked really, really nicely.
Or if they're really strapped for cash, Kim might spare some room on his next 'Definitely not a missle test' launch.
(Isn't it odd that everyone else seems to able to fling a bird into orbit without help these days, but NASA just seems lost unless they're aiming at anything but Earth orbit?)
"other nations are now developing systems whose capability rivals or exceeds US systems"
And that's it for the Landsat project.
No reason to waste valuable NSA money on something others are doing better.
Especially when NSA can just go and slurp it when the job is done.
I have the solution,
Tell the Democrats the Landsat program is necessary for MSNBC and CNN, tell Republicans it simulcasts FOX and Jesus
If they want Landsat to live, then they need to make sure the data is used by Homeland Security or some other of the big defense organizations, and they must avoid mentioning that the data is used for science, especially if it's environmental science, and especially especially if it's climate science.
Otherwise the project will be actively targeted by the GOP.
The GOP provokes budget crises in order to cut programs they don't like, mainly science and welfare, but will fight to the death to protect defense spending.
If it isn't surveillance, terrorist or some other hot button topic of the week, it shan't be launched.
At this rate, all visual, radio, IR, higher spectra or even GPS is toast soon. Congress has repeatedly refused to fund any of those over military things.
Indeed, there is a bill still pending, not mentioning the annual basis and increasing political support, for a bill that *any*, any at all, federal funding that is not military is refused.
Health is crap, scrap it.
Living conditions is worthless, scrap it.
Power is a nuisance, scrap it.
Living citizens are not worthy, save as a labor force.
Signed, Mr Winston.