Downsized Weather Satellite Program on track, but uncertainty remains

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Abstract

The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) was downsized after a review that was required when the program far exceeded its budget and schedule. A year later, NPOESS—a major civilian and military weather satellite program—appears to be proceeding well with its new schedule and budget. However, whether the program will remain on track is uncertain.

In July 2006, NPOESS was scaled back from six satellites in three orbits to four satellites in two orbits, and several climate and space weather sensors were cancelled (see Eos 87(25), 2006). Since then, NOAA and NASA held an internal review to determine which of the cancelled climate sensors were most important and to develop recommendations to ensure continuity of those data sets (the December 2006 internal white paper has now been posted at http://www.climatesciencewatch.org).

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