Congress will provide NASA with nearly $23.3 billion in the final fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill, restoring several science programs but falling far short of the funding sought for a lunar lander program.
The White House is asking Congress to remove language from an appropriations bill that would direct NASA to launch the Europa Clipper mission on the Space Launch System as a long-running dispute on how to launch the mission nears its conclusion.
Cost overruns on three instruments for NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft led NASA to consider dropping them from the mission and ultimately requiring significant changes to some of them.
The management of NASA’s Europa Clipper mission, facing dwindling cost reserves while still years away from launch, is looking at cost saving options that would preserve the mission’s science.
Over the past 60 years, NASA has explored the solar system from the sun to the Kuiper belt. While many of these missions, especially those beyond Saturn, have been one-shot flybys, others have charted many of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn extensively by repeated orbital passes.