Environmental Satellites: Planning Required to Mitigate Near-Term Risks and Ensure Long-Term Continuity
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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Environmental satellites provide data used for weather forecasting, measuring variations in climate over time, and predicting space weather. Due to the continuing cost, schedule, and tri-agency management challenges of the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System NPOESS -- a key satellite acquisition managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association NOAA, the Department of Defense DoD, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA -- the White Houses Office of Science and Technology Policy OSTP decided in February 2010 to disband NPOESS and, instead, to have NOAA and DoD undertake separate acquisitions. GAO was asked to summarize its report being released today on plans for NOAAs and DoDs separate acquisitions and the key risks of the transition, as well as its recent work on federal efforts to establish long-term strategies for satellite-provided climate and space weather data. In its reports, GAO recommended that NOAA and DoD address key transition risks, and that the Presidents Assistant for Science and Technology implement interagency strategies for the long-term provision of environmental observations. NOAA and DoD agreed, while the Assistants office neither agreed nor disagreed, but noted its plan to develop a strategy for earth observations.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Unmanned Spacecraft