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Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 11th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… President Trump called Monday for a 12 percent increase in NASA’s budget for 2021 in order to achieve a return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers in 2024. The proposed top line, 25.2B, is the highest request since Apollo.  The President’s Budget Request is a “blueprint” requiring Congressional approval in order to be carried out.


Human Space Exploration

Trump’s budget would bolster NASA’s plan to return humans to the Moon
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Washington Post (2/10): With a proposed White House funding boost for 2021, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday that it’s now up to the agency to achieve the goal of accelerating a human return to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024. He characterized it as one of the “strongest” budget proposals in the agency’s history.

White House requests significant NASA budget increase to fund Artemis program
SpaceNews.com (2/10): The White House is seeking $25.24 billion for NASA in 2021, a 12 percent increase, much of the money intended to achieve Artemis, an accelerated effort to return to the surface of the Moon with human explorers by 2024. The budget requests more than $3.3 billion for development of human landing systems, an effort that received just $600 million in 2020. Commercially operated, the landers will shuttle astronauts between a lunar orbiting, human tended Gateway and the Moon’s surface.

Trump’s budget would bolster NASA’s plan to return humans to the Moon
Coalition Members in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Washington Post (2/10): With a proposed White House funding boost for 2021, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Monday that it’s now up to the agency to achieve the goal of accelerating a human return to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024. He characterized it as one of the “strongest” budget proposals in the agency’s history.

NASA’s Moon program shines as one bright spot in White House science spending plan
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Dynetics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
GeekWire.com (2/10): If Congress approves, NASA’s 2021 White House budget proposal could be good news for commercial companies with the skills to develop and operate lunar landers. Of the $25.2 billion request, $3.3 billion could go toward commercial lunar lander development by two yet to be selected private sector competitors. That could be good news for a Blue Origin led team that includes Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper. Boeing leads a team that includes Dynetics and Sierra Nevada Corp. SpaceX is in the competition as well. A decision by NASA is expected within weeks.

Coalition for Deep Space Exploration statement on FY 2021 NASA Budget Request
Exploredeepspace.com (2/10): “We are pleased to see the top line increase in the President’s FY 2021 Budget Request and applaud the Administration on its commitment to the Artemis program. We support a robust approach to the development of platforms and capabilities that will begin at the Moon and extend to Mars,” said Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, president & CEO of the Coalition. “However, we are concerned about balancing the proposed schedule for a human lunar landing with the need to assure sustainability in a long-term program. Some of the proposed cuts in science and exploration may decrease rather than increase NASA’s flexibility to meet these goals. Finally, while we recognize the tough decisions that are needed to set and meet priorities, we support a robust STEM program at NASA. America – and NASA’s Moon-to-Mars effort – needs our next generation of scientists, researchers, and engineers.”  Dittmar added that the Coalition is committed to the Moon-to-Mars program looks forward to working with NASA to meet its goals.

Space Science

Trump’s 2021 NASA budget proposal axes 2 telescopes, 2 Earth science missions & STEM grants
Space.com (2/10): While lunar exploration advances under President Trump’s proposed 2021 budget for NASA, the spending plan once again seeks cancellation of the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) until the companion and technically challenging James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launches in 2021. The plan also calls for termination of two Earth science missions, Pace and Clarreo, a move the White House made previously but that Congress managed to reverse. The budget proposal also calls for the termination of STEM engagement.

To find alien life, we should focus on white dwarf stars
Space.com (2/10): As the search for life beyond Earth continues, a research team is suggesting white dwarf stars deserve more scrutiny. When our sun, a yellow star, exhausts its fuel in an estimated 4 billion years, it will join the ranks of older white dwarfs, which comprise 15 percent of all stars.

Other News

First Budget Request for Space Force tops $15 billion
Spacepolicyonline.com (2/10): For the first time, the President’s Budget Request includes funding for the U.S. Space Force, which was created as a sixth military service in December.  Most of the funding for Space Force in the F2021 request simply reflects shuffling funds into the new account structure, but an Air Force official said today there is a $900 million increase compared to FY2020.

Space Force sponsored study to assess capabilities of commercial industry
SpaceNews.com (2/8): Rand Corp., a federally funded nonprofit think tank, has been commissioned by the U.S. Space Force to identify commercial technologies of use for its national security mission as well as the risks they might face during an armed conflict. The one year study is intended to help the new Space Force modernize its space capabilities. Areas to be assessed include satellite-based communications, remote sensing, launch, environmental monitoring, space situational awareness and on-orbit satellite servicing.

Raymond calls out Russia for ‘threatening behavior’ in outer space
SpaceNews.com (2/10): Chief of the U.S. Space Force Gen. John Raymond expressed concerns in an interview Monday that a Russian satellite pair is carrying out orbital maneuvers to “inspect” a U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) satellite in a threatening fashion. The satellite pair, which some analysts characterize as a host and smaller companion satellite, was launched November 25. “We remain committed to preferring that space remain free of conflict,” Raymond told SpaceNews.com, “but other nations have turned space into a warfighting domain,” he added. “Russia is developing on-orbit capabilities that seek to exploit the U.S. reliance on space-based systems.”

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