Weather

Aging Satellites May Mean Gaps in Weather Forecasts

Get moving, SpaceX!

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The United States is facing a year or more without crucial satellites that provide invaluable data for predicting storm tracks, a result of years of mismanagement, underfunding and delays in launching replacements, according to several recent official reviews.

The looming gap in satellite coverage, which some experts now view as almost certain to occur within the next few years, could result in shaky forecasts about storms like Hurricane Sandy, which is now expected to hit the northeast seaboard early next week.

The endangered satellites fly pole-to-pole orbits and cross the Equator in the afternoon, scanning the whole planet one strip at a time. Along with orbiters on other timetables, they are among the most effective tools used to pin down the paths of major storms around five days ahead.

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