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Will the Sequester Take an Outsized Bite from Planetary Science at NASA?

Posted by Casey Dreier

2013/04/06 09:11 CDT

Topics: Space Policy, FY2013 NASA Budget

Some troubling reports from SpaceNews, reporting that despite a $223 million boost from Congress, NASA's Planetary Science Division may not be allowed to use that money so the agency can prevent cuts in other programs.

From the (paywalled) article:

NASA's Planetary Science Division, which Congress favored with a $200 million increase in the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 933) that President Barack Obama signed into law March 26, is expected to lose most if not all of that money as sequestration siphons some $900 million off the agency’s enacted $17.5 billion top line.

In order to protect higher-priority programs...NASA will be cutting lower-priority programs, including planetary science, by more than 5 percent.

The article goes on to say that no one knows how much money Planetary Science will have (or not have) until the Agency's operating plan is submitted to Congress next month. Remember, this is the 2013 budget that passed Congress two weeks ago, not the 2014 proposal that will come out next week.

Obviously, this is hugely troubling news if this comes to pass. We're following this extremely closely. Congress made a strong statement of support for Planetary Science by rejecting the proposed cut this year. For NASA to "reprogram" that money out to other priorities would be heartbreaking.

More to come.

 

Or read more blog entries about: Space Policy, FY2013 NASA Budget

Comments:

Bob Ware: 04/06/2013 12:55 CDT

Casey - With SpaceX Heavy Lifter *, can we find a mission from another agency and launch it privately and at the same piggy back our SolarSail S/C onto the vehicle? -- an alternate, can we hitch a ride for free on a Flight Test of their Heavy Lifter? * Post R&D when the full up Full up Flight Test occurs

David Frankis: 04/08/2013 06:26 CDT

Meanwhile, I see TESS has been selected in the Explorer program, so not all bad news for planetary science, even if not in Planetary Science.

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