Meteorological Satellites

NSIAD-95-87R: Published: Feb 6, 1995. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the Department of Defense (DOD) transferring two defense meteorological satellites to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). GAO noted that: (1) in May 1994, the President signed a directive requiring DOD and NOAA to integrate their separate satellite systems into a single, converged system; (2) although DOD and NOAA operate polar-orbiting satellite systems with some common components, these components are not directly interchangeable and could not be used on NOAA satellites without modifications; (3) transferring DOD meteorological satellites to NOAA would not be beneficial to the government; (4) the unequal number of satellites between the two agencies could complicate the timely transition to the converged system; (5) DOD and NOAA officials believe the imbalance in the satellite inventory is manageable, but there are no plans to transfer any satellites to NOAA; and (6) the government would lose the use of two satellites that are currently in production if DOD transfers its satellites to NOAA.

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