WASHINGTON -- The United States could face gaps in forecasting and tracking hurricanes and other severe weather because of $3 billion in cost overruns and a three-year delay in a new satellite program, officials said yesterday.
The first of the next generation satellites may not be launched until 2012, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told the House Science Committee. Should the last of the current fleet fail, the gap in weather data could reach four years.
''This is a depressing case of failure and perhaps incompetence," said Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.
Polar-orbiting satellites provide daily, high-resolution images of the globe and account for more than 90 percent of the data used in civilian and military weather predictions, said Ronald
It is ''a program in crisis," said David Powner of the Government Accountability Office.