The first US budget put together by the Trump administration cuts NASA’s budget by 1% and eliminates all funding for the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which envisaged the docking of a solar-electric-propulsion module to an asteroid for relocation to the vicinity of the Moon where astronauts would retrieve a sample for return to Earth.
Also cut is the Robotic Refuelling Mission for servicing satellites using unmanned vehicles, as well as the Europa lander and four major Earth science missions. The Trump administration proposes completely eliminating the NASA Office of Education as part of a general government-wide cut in education and health and welfare programmes.
The first draft outline of the US federal budget for 2018, beginning October 1 this year, envisages swinging changes to the entire structure of the US government in a more radical way than has ever been imagined before and deep cuts are being made to environmental protection agencies, land resource management organisations and abolition of 19 government agencies.
There is much more to come and a new and dramatic programme is promised for a “more expansive exploration program.”
A full report will be published in the May issue of Spaceflight magazine out in the first week of April. Be sure to get a copy for a full rundown of the extensive measures now planned for redefining the United States and its space programmes.