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Commerce Secretary calls risk of weather satellite gap 'too high'

11 April 2014

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The U.S. commerce secretary says current weather satellite development programs are on track but nonetheless she continues to worry about a future gap in coverage.

In hearings before House and Senate panels 09 and 10 April, respectively, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker repeatedly said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's weather satellite programs were "on schedule and on budget."

NOAA, which manages and procures U.S. civil weather satellite systems, is part of the Commerce Department. The agency operates geostationary-orbiting satellites for continental coverage and a polar-orbiting craft for global coverage. Budget difficulties and delays to the systems currently under development have led to concerns about gaps in coverage, primarily from polar orbit.

"The potential for a gap is still too high," Pritzker told the Senate Appropriations commerce, justice, science and related agencies subcommittee.

Source: Space News

Image credit: U.S. Department of Commerce - Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker

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