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.

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.

Source: USGS, Feb. 4, 2005