The U.S. at Risk of Losing Crucial Satellite Data

Members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are worried about the future of U.S. weather satellites.  So much so the committee commissioned the Government Accountability Office to conduct a new study into the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration's (NOAA) weather satellite program. 

Currently, NOAA has two types of satellites, geostationary and polar-orbiting.  The geostationary one, known as GOES, provides continuous images of the earth from a fixed point 22 thousand miles up in the atmosphere while the polar-orbiting type, or JPSS, circles the earth 500 miles above the planet.  It provides images used in long-term forecasting.

A legacy of mismanagement, overbudgeting, and missed deadlines could mean the satellites could fail before their replacements are launched and become up and running.

There are also concerns about the overall security with NOAA's computers.  In October, several NOAA networks were hacked by an outside source.  NOAA won't comment who might have been behind the hack.  There's worry satellite data the Air Force uses might be vulnerable as well. 


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