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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: 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.

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