Charles Q. Choi in Scientific American:
The long-range weather forecasts that warned of where Hurricane Katrina would strike depended on data from polar satellites. They capture not only details over the Arctic and Antarctic but also virtually every point on the planet’s surface as the world turns under them. Now the replacements for the aging U.S. military and civilian fleet are in jeopardy. The program is as much as $3 billion over budget, and the launch of the first replacement satellite is as many as three years behind schedule.