President Bush’s fiscal year 2006 budget calls for increasing the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat 7 budget by $12 million so that this important earth-imaging satellite program can continue to provide critical information to scientists, emergency relief officials, land managers and planners.
Half of that increase would be used to ensure the continued operation of Landsat 7, while the other half would replenish funds from activities deferred as a result of a proposed reprogramming for 2005 Landsat 7 operations. The 2006 budget also requests $7.5 million so that USGS can begin work on an upgraded ground-processing system to acquire, process, archive and distribute data from a new generation of satellite-based land image sensors. This Landsat Data Continuity Mission is expected to begin operations in 2009.
USGS Director Charles Groat said, “This increase will enable the USGS to not only continue current Landsat 7 operations but also provide long-term monitoring information that is critical for maintaining the health and safety of our communities, our economy and our environment.” Groat noted that, “Landsat 7 images of tsunami damaged coastlines in the Indian Ocean are being used by relief organization to make practical, well-informed decisions as to where their efforts are most urgently needed and how best to carry out that work.”