New York Times: The current generation of US weather satellites are nearing or past their planned life expectancies and the next isn’t scheduled for launch until 2017. That launch will be the first in the Joint Polar Satellite System, a $13 billion program run by NOAA and NASA, that is facing criticism for delays and mismanagement. The Government Accountability Office is predicting that there will be a year long gap in satellite coverage because of the two year delay in the launch of the first JPSS satellite. A satellite called Suomi was launched last year to attempt to help bridge the gap, but has suffered technical glitches that may shorten its effective life to just 3 years. Polar orbiting satellites are key to weather prediction in the US and have provided 84% of the data used in studying Hurricane Sandy, which is currently approaching the East Coast. Without such coverage, forecasts of the 2010 snow storm that hit the Washington, DC, area would have underestimated the snowfall by half.