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Highlights

Environmental satellites provide data and imagery that are used by weather forecasters, climatologists, and the military to map and monitor changes in weather (including severe weather such as hurricanes), climate, the oceans, and the environment. Two current acquisitions are the $12.5 billion National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program--which is to replace two existing polar-orbiting environmental satellite systems--and the planned $7 billion Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites-R (GOES-R) program, which is to replace the current series of satellites due to reach end of their useful lives in approximately 2012. GAO was asked to summarize its past work on the progress and challenges facing these key environmental satellite acquisitions.

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