Today’s Deep Space Extra

March 12th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra (Special Edition) – Editor’s note: The White House presented its 2020 budget request to Congress on Monday. Today’s Deep Space Extra surveys some of the news coverage focused on impacts the budget request could have on human space exploration and science as well as commercial efforts in space. Congress will now begin the process of negotiating and writing the legislation will actually fund the government.    


Human Space Exploration


NASA prioritizes Moon landings under Trump budget proposal

New York Times (3/11): The White House 2020 budget proposal for NASA emphasizes a human return to the lunar surface by 2028 and to a new lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway space station by 2024, objectives that will depend heavily on partnerships with U.S. commercial launch services companies.


NASA unveils $21 billion Trump administration fiscal year 2020 budget request

CBS News via (3/11): The White House 2020 $21 billion budget proposal backs the assembly of a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway around the Moon, using U.S. commercial launch service providers. Human explorers could stroll the lunar surface again in 2028.


Trump’s 2020 NASA budget will take U.S. from Moon to Mars, agency chief says (3/11): The White House 2020 budget proposal calls for a U.S. private sector collaboration to achieve to sustained human return to the lunar environs during the 2020’s.


Trump administration proposes half billion dollar cut to NASA for FY2020. (3/11): The White House budget proposal for 2020 would cut NASA spending from the current fiscal year by nearly $500 million, terminate the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) and the agency’s long running STEM education initiative.


Trump proposes $500 million cut to NASA as agency aims for the Moon

Houston Chronicle (3/11): NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) leadership praises the White House’s $21 billion, 2020 budget proposal because of its focus on a sustained human lunar return despite a $500 million cut in annual spending.


Trump proposes to trim NASA budget while shooting for Moon

Florida Today (3/11): The Trump administration’s proposed 2020 spending plans calls for a sustained human return to the Moon, first to lunar orbit and then the surface during the 2020’s, while holding back on its commitment to an evolving Space Launch System (SLS) heavy lift rocket.


NASA budget proposal targets SLS (3/11): NASA’s proposed $21 billion budget for 2020 would scale back plans to upgrade the Space Launch System (SLS), a cornerstone of the agency’s recent efforts to resume human deep space exploration, after initial uncrewed and crewed test flights. The agency will look to the U.S. commercial sector for launch services to complete the assembly of a human tended, lunar orbiting Gateway during the 2020’s.


Space science


NASA is finally funding a Mars sample return mission, but details are slim (3/12): NASA’s Mars 2020 rover is to launch for Mars in July 2020, reaching the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater, a now dry ancient lake, in February 2021. One of the nuclear powered rover’s duties is to gather and cache dozens of rock and soil samples for return to Earth. NASA’s proposed budget for 2020 includes $109 million to study a follow on mission to return the samples to Earth for analysis. The investment is expected to rise in subsequent years, with the possibly of a 2026 launch.


Trump’s 2020 NASA budget would cancel space telescope, Earth science missions (3/11): The Trump administration’s federal budget request for 2020 proposes the cancellation of three NASA science missions: the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) and two Earth science missions. According to NASA’s summary of the budget request, the Trump administration is proposing “to terminate the WFIRST mission and instead focus on completing the delayed James Webb Space Telescope (JWST),” another flagship-class project that is over budget and behind schedule.


White House budget proposal tightens the screws on science, from space to salmon (3/11): The White House’s $4.7 trillion spending plan for fiscal year 2020 aims to give a boost to the Space Force, but would dial down work on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), zero out the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), leave salmon in the lurch and slash science spending on other fronts.

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