The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill Sept. 26 that would give $22.75 billion for NASA, but expressed some frustration about the lack of details in the agency’s plans to return humans to the moon.
A Senate appropriations subcommittee approved a spending bill Sept. 24 that would provide $22.75 billion for NASA in fiscal year 2020, including much, but not all, of what the agency sought in additional funding for the Artemis program.
House appropriators criticized NASA for seeking to cancel “legacy” science and education programs in favor of new exploration efforts, moving money back to those missions while remaining silent on the administration’s accelerated lunar return.
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.