There’s little doubt, though, that JWST will eventually launch, even if the March 2021 date slips. The same isn’t the case for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), NASA’s next flagship astrophysics mission.
As Congress works to finalize a fiscal year 2019 spending bill for NASA, a senator is asking colleagues to secure the future of two of NASA’s largest astrophysics missions.
In his first congressional testimony since becoming NASA administrator a month ago, Jim Bridenstine sought to reassure Senate appropriators about the status of several agency programs threatened with cancellation, as well as his own views on climate change.
As House appropriators approved a spending bill May 17 that partially restores funding for a NASA astrophysics mission slated for cancellation, the agency’s administrator said he was “90 percent” confident that the mission will continue.
With uncertainty about the future of two large space telescopes, NASA is continuing to suggest that the next decadal survey for astrophysics be postponed, a move opposed by many astronomers.
As House appropriators prepare to take up a spending bill that funds NASA, some programs proposed for cancellation are pressing ahead despite fiscal uncertainty that one scientist described as “psychologically damaging.”
NASA’s cost and performance on major programs has “deteriorated” significantly in the last year according to a report May 1 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.
NASA is in discussions with its Russian counterparts about extending some upcoming space station missions as a way to buy more time for development of commercial crew vehicles.
Despite problems with another large astronomy mission and its own threatened cancellation, NASA’s WFIRST mission is expected to clear a major review next month after having reduced its costs.
Members of the House space subcommittee raised concerns about elements of NASA's fiscal year 2019 budget proposal during a March 7 hearing, from the cancellation of a space telescope to restructuring of the agency's technology programs.