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NASA

FYI focuses on the programs and missions sponsored by the Science Mission Directorate, including in the Astrophysics, Planetary Science, Heliophysics, and Earth Science Divisions. FYI also covers science-related missions supported by other directorates, including the International Space Station.

3 Aug 2017

The House appropriations bill for NASA would raise the Science Mission Directorate’s $5.77 billion budget by 2 percent, while the Senate bill would cut it by 3 percent. As in previous years, the appropriations committees take opposing stances on funding for the Earth Science and Planetary Science Divisions.

31 Jul 2017

The Senate Appropriations Committee has advanced a bill that would cut the topline budgets of NASA, the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 1 to 2 percent each.

21 Jul 2017

At a House Space Subcommittee hearing, witnesses and members emphasized the need to balance support for flagship missions, such as the Mars 2020 Rover and the Europa Clipper, with support for smaller programs, such as the new Discovery–class mission Psyche to study a metal asteroid.

30 Jun 2017

The House’s draft Commerce, Justice, and Science spending bill resembles last year’s version, rejecting or softening many of the cuts proposed in President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2018.

15 Jun 2017

In back-to-back House hearings, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot firmly defended his agency’s fiscal year 2018 budget request, including proposals to eliminate support for five Earth Science missions and the Office of Education.

30 May 2017

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposes to decrease funding for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate by about 1 percent relative to enacted fiscal year 2017 appropriations. Earth Science would see a 9 percent decrease and the cancellation of some missions, while Planetary Science would return almost to the record funding levels it enjoyed in the early 2000s.

5 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 provides a 3.1 percent increase for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. Planetary Science will receive a 12 percent increase and is instructed to proceed with a Europa lander mission. Heliophysics will receive a smaller increase while Earth Science funding will remain unchanged. As work on the James Webb Space Telescope ramps down, total funds allocated to Astrophysics activities will decrease.

28 Apr 2017

This week, the House Science Committee held a hearing to discuss new developments in the field of astrobiology, a favorite subject of Committee Chair Lamar Smith (R-TX). Committee members praised work in the field and agreed with the witnesses’ appraisal of its popular appeal and inherent importance.

9 Mar 2017

Following a failed attempt last year, Congress has passed the bipartisan “NASA Transition Authorization Act.” The bill, which emphasizes human space exploration, affirms existing NASA priorities. However, it leaves ambiguous policy concerning contentious issues such as NASA’s Earth science activities.

2 Mar 2017

Earlier this week, President Trump signed into law two bills that leverage existing programs at NASA and NSF to promote the advancement of women in STEM fields. Trump’s remarks at the signing constituted his first extemporaneous comments on science policy.

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