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The Commerce Blog

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)

National Inventors Hall of Fame Has Sixteen New Members

Kappos prepares to bestow a medal on an inductee.

The National Inventors Hall of Fame has sixteen new members. At a ceremony held at the Department of Commerce, the 2010 Class was formally inducted. David Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, said during the ceremony that, “The 2010 Class of Inductees have collectively amassed 387 patents. Their innovations have saved millions of lives, improved the quality of life for countless others and transformed the way just about everyone on the planet communicates, navigates and entertains themselves.” (More) (Induction information)

Francisco J. Sánchez Sworn In as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade

Hightower, Sanchez and scheduling assistant Jenna Pilat. Click for larger image.

Francisco J. Sánchez was sworn in today as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade after receiving a recess appointment from President Obama. U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower administered the oath of office to Sánchez who will direct the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). I’m pleased to have Francisco leading the International Trade Administration,” said Hightower. “As head of the International Trade Administration, Francisco will be on the front line as the Commerce Department spearheads the implementation of the President’s National Export Initiative.” (More) (Bio)

Francisco Sánchez and Eric Hirschhorn Named to Posts as Under Secretaries of Commerce

Commerce building exterior with U.S. flag.

Francisco J. Sánchez will direct the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration as Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Eric L. Hirschhorn will lead the Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security as Under Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration after receiving recess appointments from President Obama Saturday. Sánchez and Hirschhorn could serve in their jobs through the end of 2011, when the next Senate finishes its term, or until they are nominated and confirmed to their posts. (Sanchez release) (Hirschhorn release)

Statement from Under Secretary Blank on Personal Income and Outlays in February 2010

Portrait photo of Under Secretary Blank.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis today released personal income and outlays for February 2010. Personal income and real disposable income were nearly unchanged in February. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3 percent. “Today’s data indicate that, as the Administration’s economic recovery efforts have pulled us back from the brink and taken hold, American families have been able to save more and improve their financial positions,” U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

USPTO to Hold Independent Inventors Roundtable and Webcast at Alexandria Headquarters

USPTO campus in Alexandria, Va.

David Kappos, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark will host a roundtable for independent and small entity inventors Monday, March 29 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and held on the agency’s campus in Alexandria, Va. It will also be webcast live on www.uspto.gov. Kappos will make opening remarks and invite questions from the audience and those watching on the Web. The roundtable will address current issues of concern to the independent and small entity inventor community including patent reform legislation. Directions for logging on to the webcast will be posted on the homepage of the agency’s Web site the day of the roundtable. (More)

Under Secretary Blank Statement on Third Estimate of GDP in the Fourth Quarter 2009

Department of Commerce seal.

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis released the third estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2009. Real GDP grew 5.6 percent at an annual rate, nearly unchanged from the previous estimate of 5.9 percent. “As more fourth quarter data become available, it is evident that the administration’s efforts to promote economic recovery have helped create the conditions that lead to economic growth,” Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank said. (More) (Release)

Deputy Secretary Hightower to Promote U.S. Innovation Agenda During Visit to Brussels

Portrait of Hightower

U.S. Commerce Deputy Secretary Dennis Hightower is in Brussels to promote the president’s National Innovation Strategy as a key driver for sustainable growth and quality jobs. Hightower’s visit will focus on three key building blocks to encourage innovation: investment in research, development and technology capital; promotion of competitive markets, and support for national priorities in the clean energy, advanced vehicle technology and health care sectors. Today, he delivered remarks at a luncheon hosted by the American Chambers of Commerce. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Discusses Jobs and Innovation at Democratic Leadership Council Roundtable

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Locke speaking from the podium.

U.S Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke highlighted what the Obama administration and the Commerce Department are doing to spur innovation and job creation, hosted by the New Democratic Leadership Council. Joined by U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc. CEO Angela Selden and AT&T Senior Vice President Xavier Willimas and others, Locke discussed innovation as a key to putting America back on the road to sustainable job growth. He stressed the need to boost investments in innovation and infrastructure so America can lead the world in emerging industries. The New DLC also highlighted two recently released reports that lay out a strategy to put more Americans back to work. (Remarks)

Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Grants to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah

Recovery logo.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke held a press conference call with Sen. Jeff Bingaman (NM), Sen. Tom Udall (NM), Rep. Jim Matheson (UT), Rep. Ben Lujan (NM) and former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya and announced a $32 million Recovery Act grant to the Navajo Nation in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah that will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic development, create jobs, and improve education and health care. Locke announced a total of 10 grants totaling more than $63 million that will increase broadband access and adoption in more than a dozen states. (More)