Department of the Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: Frank Quimby
Feb. 4, 2005
President Bush Proposes Increase
in USGS Landsat 7 Funding for FY 2006

WASHINGTON - President Bush's FY 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.

"The President's budget would preserve the Landsat program's 30-year unbroken record of monitoring and documenting critical changes in the Earth's surface," Interior Secretary Gale Norton said in announcing the funding proposal. "The funds will ensure that those who depend on these satellite images for public safety, research and planning will continue to receive them."

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."

Landsat is the longest running civilian program providing vital images of the Earth's land surface from space. The first Landsat satellite was launched in 1972 and the program took a giant leap forward technologically with the launch of Landsat 7 in 1999. Landsat satellites instruments have acquired more than 1.7 million moderate-resolution images of the Earth's surface, providing a unique resource for scientists who study agriculture, geology, forestry, and for regional planning, education, mapping and global change research.



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