House appropriators partially restored funding for a planetary defense mission as part of a spending bill while also raising concerns about NASA’s closure of an airborne observatory and plans to return samples from Mars.
The future of NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory remains in limbo after the astrophysics decadal survey gave the program, proposed for termination by NASA, a vote of no-confidence.
House appropriators approve NASA spending bill with revised lunar lander and nuclear propulsion language
The House Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill July 15 that leaves intact overall funding for NASA but tweaks language regarding the Human Landing System and nuclear thermal propulsion.
Despite facing the threat of cancellation for the second straight year, a NASA airborne observatory is continuing with regular operations.
NASA released its fiscal year 2022 budget request May 28, asking for $24.8 billion to support a number of new and existing science and exploration programs but also proposing once again to cancel an airborne astronomical observatory.
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.