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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 15 2018, @04:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-space-for-money dept.

A Trump administration budget proposal would cancel NASA's flagship-class Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) as well as several Earth science related telescopes, as it focuses on the Space Launch System, Orion, and sending astronauts to an orbital space station around the Moon:

The Trump administration has released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 and put dozens of federal programs on the chopping block, including a brand-new NASA space telescope that scientists say would provide the biggest picture of the universe yet, with the same sparkling clarity as the Hubble Space Telescope. The proposal, released Monday, recommends eliminating the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), citing "higher priorities" at NASA and the cost of the new telescope.

"Given competing priorities at NASA, and budget constraints, developing another large space telescope immediately after completing the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope is not a priority for the administration," the proposal states. "The budget proposes to terminate WFIRST and redirect existing funds to other priorities of the science community, including completed astrophysics missions and research."

Although the Trump administration wants to end funding of the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025, it envisions private companies picking up the slack:

"The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time — it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform," according to a draft summary of NASA's ISS Transition Report required by Congress in the agency's 2017 Authorization Act.

Space experts and legislators have mixed feelings about the plans:

MIT astronautics professor Dava Newman, who was the deputy NASA chief under Barack Obama, called the space station "the cornerstone of space exploration today" but said the Trump administration's proposal makes sense because it is doing long-term planning.

The president proposes shifting large chunks of money from the space station, satellites studying a warming Earth and a major space telescope toward a multi-year $10.4 billion exploration plan aimed at returning astronauts to the moon in about five or six years.

[...] Mike Suffredini, a former space station program manager for NASA who now runs Axiom Space in Houston and aims to establish the world's first commercial space station cautioned that the U.S. government needs to have a direct hand in the International Space Station until it comes down. No company would accept the liabilities and risks associated with the station, he said, if the sprawling complex went out of control and came crashing down.

His company's plan is to attach its own compartments to the existing International Space Station and, once the decision is made to dismantle the complex, detach its segment and continue orbiting on its own.

Also at Spaceflight Now, Scientific American, Time, Space.com, Space News, and CNN.

Previously: WFIRST Space Observatory Could be Scaled Back Due to Costs
Trump Space Adviser: Mars "Too Ambitious" and SLS is a Strategic National Asset
Can the International Space Station be Saved? Should It be Saved?
Trump Administration Plans to End Support for the ISS by 2025
After the Falcon Heavy Launch, Time to Defund the Space Launch System?


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  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:24AM (2 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:24AM (#638089) Journal

    why is SLS still on the list?

    How many others on the list have sub-sub-contracts of gold-rolled pork?

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @06:11AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @06:11AM (#638105)

      why is SLS still on the list?

      Isn't it clear? Because the Dotard needs bigger rockets than Little Rocket Man.

      Stupid is what stupid does, and American President is prime example of idiocracy in action.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by krishnoid on Thursday February 15 2018, @06:10AM (2 children)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Thursday February 15 2018, @06:10AM (#638104)

    and sending astronauts to an orbital space station around the Moon

    After all, he spent most of his life dealing in real estate transactions, so I can't be surprised he's setting things up to work that angle.

  • (Score: 2) by eravnrekaree on Thursday February 15 2018, @01:09PM (3 children)

    by eravnrekaree (555) on Thursday February 15 2018, @01:09PM (#638213)

    Absolutely insane. SLS is a bloated white elephant pork that is the sacred cow of the deep state swamp. This is the exact opposite of what any sane person would do which is cancel SLS and put more funding towards the science probes. Many have called for NASA to get out of the rocket business completely. It can then purchase COTS launches from private industry. It seems the entire agency is being oriented about launching a rocket. The purpose of space is not to launch rockets, its what you have on those rockets that matters. NASA is spending so much on rockets it has little left over for the stuff that goes on rockets. Getting out of rockets would leave more money for what NASA should be, carrying out science missions.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:22PM

      by VLM (445) on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:22PM (#638240)

      Not disagreeing with your point, but the bloat is moving so slow, that SpaceX and friends are going to pass them up. The government program isn't going to get to the moon until long after the SpaceX colonization program has a major base constructed. Or maybe Mars. Same idea anyway.

    • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:44PM (1 child)

      by meustrus (4961) on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:44PM (#638245)

      SLS is nothing but pork? So fix it. Fix the process. Because if SpaceX can run circles around the US government, so can Russia, China, maybe even North Korea and Iran.

      If your answer to broken government is to throw away the government, then guess what? All the bad guys that government is supposed to be protecting us from, from the financial criminals willing to obliterate everyone's 401(k) if it can justify a bigger bonus, to the radical Islamic terrorists that would love to do another 9/11, those bad guys will run all over us.

      It's been a nice run at being top dog for the last 100 years. I do not look forward to facing the enemies we've made in that time.

      --
      If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:49PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:49PM (#638326)

        SLS is nothing but pork? So fix it. Fix the process.

        That's impossible. We're stuck with this process because of the way the government is structured.

  • (Score: 2) by meustrus on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:48PM (1 child)

    by meustrus (4961) on Thursday February 15 2018, @02:48PM (#638246)

    a multi-year $10.4 billion exploration plan aimed at returning astronauts to the moon in about five or six years

    Isn't it a bit unrealistic to assume that the millions he lied to will vote him into office again to claim this achievement? I'm not saying the Democrats can't find a way to screw up 2020, but the most likely outcome here is that Trump loses the white house and his successor trashes this program in favor of some other impressive-sounding space achievement that isn't tainted by the political opposition. It happens every 4 or 8 years.

    --
    If there isn't at least one reference or primary source, it's not +1 Informative. Maybe the underused +1 Interesting?
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:45PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Thursday February 15 2018, @05:45PM (#638322)

      Isn't it a bit unrealistic to assume that the millions he lied to will vote him into office again to claim this achievement?

      Not at all. In fact, I would bet money on it.

      I'm not saying the Democrats can't find a way to screw up 2020, but the most likely outcome here is that Trump loses the white house

      Nope, not going to happen. Unless something happens to him (most likely a health problem), we can look forward to him being President until 2024. It's extremely rare these days that a President doesn't get re-elected for a 2nd term. And don't give me that "popularity" BS: Bush II wasn't all that popular with his wars, but he got re-elected in 2004. The main problem is that the Democrats absolutely refuse to run decent candidates for this office, so they lose, even when the Republican candidates are horrible. The Dems just can't ever wrap their heads around the fact that they need to run likeable candidates with some charisma to win. They won't do it, unless they're absolutely forced to (like when Obama shocked them by winning the primaries in 2008, and derailing their plans for nominating Hillary). Rest assured, just like they made sure to not let some popular guy win over their chosen one in 2016, they're going to do the same in 2020. Or perhaps they'll change their tune and decide to pick Oprah, who likes to push anti-vax and new-age bullshit, and again will lose. (Note: I'm a Dem voter, and if they pick Oprah, I will vote for Trump.)

      The Democratic Party is its own worst enemy.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @04:11PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @04:11PM (#638272)

    HAHAHA!

    "competing priorities at NASA": going for the moon -OR- observing TEH outer-space universe some more?

    that's like "competing priorities" when turning left:
    like this much left, 90 degrees left?
    no, "this much" left in between this 90 degrees left and this a bit less by one Angstrom left ...

    sheesh ... /facepalm.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @04:57PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 15 2018, @04:57PM (#638293)

      I am pretty sure that is the first thought that popped into his head, and before anyone could explain what it ACTUALLY stood for, he had it shut down and was moving on to the next budget item :)

  • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Friday February 16 2018, @01:19AM

    by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Friday February 16 2018, @01:19AM (#638571)

    How about Trump just *increase* NASA's budget!!

    Then NASA wouldn't have to cut any current projects.

    Oh wait, that makes too much sense. Never mind.

    --
    "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @01:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16 2018, @01:49AM (#638587)

    Today the White House Administration has decided to draft a bill proposal to repeal the Second Amendment amid all the gun deaths, and school shootings in particular.

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