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3/16/2017 by mdc
Tariq Malik reports that the administration released its 2018 budget request March 16, a proposal that calls for the cancellation of NASA astronauts-to-an-asteroid mission along with four Earth Science missions and the NASA Office of Education.

The White House budget request for NASA offers $19.1 billion for the space agency in 2018, a 0.8% decrease from 2017 space-spending levels, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The 2018 budget request cancels the NASA project to bring part of an asteroid near the Moon so astronauts could visit the space rock and retrieve samples, but this likely presumes that industry space projects will doing these functions soon. But the budget does allocate $3.7 billion for NASA Orion space capsule and Space Launch System megarocket to send American astronauts on deep-space missions.

NASA will investigate approaches for reducing the costs of exploration missions to enable a more expansive exploration program, OMB officials wrote in the budget summary.
NASA acting chief Robert Lightfoot said the proposed cancellation of ARM will not result in the loss of much work for that mission.

They will not pursue the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) with this budget but will likely wait to see how industry efforts go before re-visiting this kind of project. They will continue the solar electric propulsion efforts benefiting from those developments for future space transportation initiatives, which is consistent.

The budget request also pledges more support for public-private partnerships for U.S. space exploration, but did not include specific funding initiatives.... to be applied where needed?

NASA Earth Science would receive $1.8 billion in 2018 under the proposed budget, which is $102 million less than 2017 levels, and four missions would be canceled outright.

NASA Planetary Science received similar funding.

NASA Office of Education, had a budget of $115 million, would be eliminated as duplicative.

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