Forced to find nearly $30 million in cost savings, NASA’s astrophysics program has trimmed budget reserves on one mission approaching launch and delayed the schedule of another.
NASA will delay moving its newest flagship astronomy mission into its next stage of development to accommodate an independent review of the program.
As members of Congress took credit for NASA funding levels in a fiscal year 2017 omnibus spending bill, the agency’s science leadership is examining how those funds will affect its programs.
NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA will start work this spring on an orbiting X-ray astronomy telescope to replace one lost shortly after launch last year.
The head of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, seeking to assure astronomers concerned about the next administration, said that the transition process has gone as he expected.
NASA is considering building a replacement for an instrument lost on a Japanese X-ray astronomy satellite earlier this year that could fly on another Japanese spacecraft.
NASA’s astrophysics division will cut several million dollars of research funds this year to partially cover a broader funding shortfall created by congressionally mandated allocations to other division programs.
NASA’s next flagship astronomy mission after the James Webb Space Telescope will become a formal project in February thanks to increased funding and direction from Congress, even as the agency looks to make cuts elsewhere in its astrophysics program.
NASA’s Astrophysics Division should emulate the planetary science division and fund a line of competitively selected missions costing roughly $1 billion, the agency’s top astrophysics official told astronomers last week.
NASA has selected three finalists for its next Small Explorer astrophysics mission and two finalists for the even smaller Explorer Missions of Opportunity Line, the U.S. space agency said July 30
WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives on June 3 approved a spending bill that would boost NASA’s astrophysics budget, but strings attached to the measure could actually force the division to make $21.3 million in unplanned cuts, a senior NASA official said.