Polar-Orbiting Environmental Satellites:

Status, Plans, and Future Data Management Challenges

GAO-02-684T: Published: Jul 24, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2002.

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Linda D. Koontz
(202) 512-7487


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

This testimony discusses the planned National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). Today's polar-orbiting environmental satellite program is a complex infrastructure encompassing two satellite systems, supporting ground stations, and four central data processing centers that provide general weather information and specialized environmental products to a variety of users, including weather forecasters, the military, and the public. NPOESS will merge the two satellite systems into a single state-of-the-art environment monitoring satellite system, at a significant cost savings. To handle this increased volume of satellite data, the four processing centers will need to build up their respective infrastructures, and they will need to efficiently incorporate new data into their weather products and models.

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