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‘$19.1 billion budget positive for NASA’


Robert Lightfoot20170524122614_l

Washington, May 24 (IANS) At $19.1 billion, NASA has a very positive budget, said the agency’s acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot after President Donald Trump released his fiscal 2018 budget request for the federal government on Tuesday.

The budget closely reflects the administration’s blueprint, released in March which showed NASA’s funding for 2018 would be cut from roughly $19.3 billion to $19.1 billion.

"At $19.1 billion, we have a very positive budget that retains the same parameters we saw in March, and which reflects the president’s confidence in our direction and the importance of everything we’ve been achieving," Lightfoot said in a statement.

"We have a budget that also provides the necessary resources in the coming year to support our plans to send humans to Mars orbit in the 2030s," Lightfoot added.

"The budget keeps us on track for the next selection for the New Frontiers program, and includes formulation of a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa," he said.

However, the fiscal 2018 budget request for NASA would reduce the number of Earth science missions and also eliminate the agency’s education office.

"While we are not proposing to move forward with Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3), Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE), Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory Pathfinder (CLARREO PF), and the Radiation Budget Instrument (RBI), this budget still includes significant Earth Science efforts, including 18 Earth observing missions in space as well as airborne missions," Lightfoot said.

While this budget no longer supports the formal Office of Education, NASA will continue to inspire the next generation through its missions and the many ways that our work excites and encourages discovery by learners and educators, he added.

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