GAO Warns on Geostationary Weather Satellites

GAO Warns on Geostationary Weather Satellites

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) gave NOAA credit for progress it has made recently on the next generation of geostationary weather satellites, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R or GOES-R, in a new report, but warns that the program is not out of the woods yet and NOAA does not have “plans, processes, procedures and resources” in place in case there is a gap in coverage.

Delays in the GOES-R program mean that NOAA “may not be able to meet its policy of having a backup satellite in orbit at all times, which could lead to a gap in coverage if GOES-14 or GOES-15 fails prematurely,” according to the report.

Also, while NOAA has involved internal users of GOES data in requirements-setting for GOES-R, it has not involved users in other agencies suffiiciently in GAO’s opinion.

The congressional watchdog agency recommended that NOAA “address weaknesses in its continuity plans and improve its processes for involving other federal agencies” adding that the Secretary of Commerce agreed with those recommendations. NOAA is part of the Department of Commerce.

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