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A recent interim report from a committee of the National Research Council (NRC) of the U.S. National Academies warned that the U.S. system of environmental satellites was “at risk of collapse” (see Eos, 10 May 2005, p. 186). Nearly six months later, despite assurances from NASA that the agency would work to address in its fiscal year (FY) 2007 budget some of the imbalances that have led to mission delays and cancellations, these satellite programs may still be at risk.

NASA funding for Earth science has suffered in recent years due to several pressures on the budget: deficit reduction, efforts to restore the space shuttle program, and plans for missions to the Moon and Mars. The NRC report, which was released as a draft in April and in its final form on 8 September, noted that six planned missions with implications for Earth science research were delayed, descoped, or canceled in the proposed FY2006 NASA budget.