NASA Announces New Budget

Constellation gets the axe, focus will be on robotic missions

1 min read

NASA administrator Charles Bolden spoke about the space agency's new budget at a press conference at 12:30. Looks like returning to the Moon in the near future is being dropped - this is what the Augustine panel recommended. Not unexpected, but will disappoint many.

The budget is focusing on robotic missions and Earth and climate science. The International Space Station is going to get some money.

The Constellation program is being canceled. Future of human expolaration is unclear - no timelines were given. No funding line for solid rocket motors beyond 2010, it seems.

However, Bolden spoke about "in-orbit fuel depots" and how to "reduce aircraft fuel needs" as areas that the agency will focus on.

The budget is being billed as "more sustainable." Obama is expanding funding by $6 billion.

Realizing that the cancelation of manned spaceflights to the Moon will be perceived as killing a source of inspiration to young and old, Bolden spent quite a bit of time reassuring reporters that it was otherwise.

He said NASA was "absolutely committed to inspiring young people."

The Conversation (0)
Two men fix metal rods to a gold-foiled satellite component in a warehouse/clean room environment

Technicians at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems facilities in Redondo Beach, Calif., work on a mockup of the JWST spacecraft bus—home of the observatory’s power, flight, data, and communications systems.

NASA

For a deep dive into the engineering behind the James Webb Space Telescope, see our collection of posts here.

When the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) reveals its first images on 12 July, they will be the by-product of carefully crafted mirrors and scientific instruments. But all of its data-collecting prowess would be moot without the spacecraft’s communications subsystem.

The Webb’s comms aren’t flashy. Rather, the data and communication systems are designed to be incredibly, unquestionably dependable and reliable. And while some aspects of them are relatively new—it’s the first mission to use Ka-band frequencies for such high data rates so far from Earth, for example—above all else, JWST’s comms provide the foundation upon which JWST’s scientific endeavors sit.

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