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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.

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.

21 Feb 2017

At a hearing convened to discuss future directions for NASA, leaders of the House Science Committee stressed the need for continuity between administrations. Democratic members highlighted the agency’s earth science activities, which could be affected by a “rebalancing” the chairman intends to pursue.

24 Jan 2017

Among presidents, Barack Obama took an unusually strong interest in science and technology, and his administration pursued a wide array of S&T-related initiatives. However, early hopes for major expansions in R&D funding remained largely unfulfilled.

6 Jan 2017

The National Science and Technology Council has increased the pace of its report releases during the waning days of the Obama administration. Recent releases address national disaster preparedness and resilience, open access to federally supported research, Arctic research, and the use of alternatives to radioisotopic sources, among other policy priorities.

27 Dec 2016

In the final days of the 114th Congress, the Senate passed legislation to provide new policy guidance to NASA for the first time since 2010. But, by the time the bill arrived in the House, lawmakers had already left Washington for the year. While the original version of the bill introduced in September addressed NASA’s science activities only briefly, the final version contained a number of additional science-related provisions.

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