GAO Says Costs and Schedule for NOAA's New Geostationary Weather Satellite Program Present Ongoing Risks, House Science and Technology Committee
"Recent events have raised doubts about the feasibility of the GOES-R launch date. Specifically, after the spacecraft segment Page 6 GAO-09-596T Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites contract was awarded and then protested in December 2008, NASA decided to re-evaluate the proposals. NASA now plans to re-award the contract in May 2009. Because NASA has agreed to a 72-month development cycle for the spacecraft segment (from contract award date to launch readiness), the launch date of GOES-R will likely be delayed until at least May 2015."
"Any delays in the launch of the first GOES-R satellite run counter to NOAAs policy of having a backup satellite in orbit at all times and could lead to gaps in satellite coverage. This policy proved useful in December 2008, when NOAA lost communication with GOES-12, but was able to use GOES-13 as an operational satellite until communication was restored. However, beginning in November 2014, NOAA expects to have two operational satellites in orbit (O and P), but it will not have a backup satellite in place until GOES-R is launched."
GAO Report (PDF)