Future of Environmental Satellite Program uncertain


  • Sarah Zielinski


The National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), over budget and behind schedule, is undergoing a mandatory review process that could leave the program cut back or canceled. However, the outcome of the review will not be known until June, witnesses testified at a 30 March hearing before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Disaster Prevention and Prediction.

NPOESS is a set of six satellites that are intended to replace the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) program and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, which collects weather data for the military. POES supports many of NOAA's environmental monitoring programs.