"The protracted fight over this year's federal budget has left its mark on the nation's climate and weather satellites, experts said yesterday at a conference organized by defense trade publisher IHS Jane's.
Scientists have warned for years that successive rounds of spending cuts have taken their toll on the nation's constellation of Earth-observing satellites. The National Academy of Sciences warned in 2007 that the United States' ability to monitor Earth from space was "at great risk" as the current stable of satellites aged and their replacements were delayed or shelved.
The spending deal hammered out earlier this month by House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House adds to that pain.
This year's budget chopped the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's purse to $4.6 billion for fiscal 2011, $140 million less than the agency received in the 2010 budget cycle."