Trump budget proposal to end funding for ISS, several NASA missions

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The International Space Station is seen in an undated NASA handout picture, June 10, 2015. REUTERS/NASA

The Trump administration has submitted its budget proposal to congress for approval. The proposal included plans to end support for the International Space Station (ISS) in 2025, as well the cancellation of NASA’s next flagship astronomy mission, along with five Earth Science missions.

The proposed budget for NASA for fiscal year 2019 is at $19.6 billion, about half a billion higher than the requested budget for this year. With the additional budget, the administration is looking to reinvigorate human and robotic exploration of the moon and other planets in the solar system.

The new budget seeks to end the United States’ support for the ISS in 2025, the station’s current date for retirement. However, many public and private stakeholders of the ISS are targeting an extension for the space station program until 2028.

The U.S. has contributed roughly $100 billion to the ISS since its creation in the 1990s. With the U.S. cutting its support for the station, it would most likely rely on public-private partnerships, with bulk of the station’s upkeep being shouldered by private companies.

The administration’s budget proposal is also cancelling the Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), which was supposed to be NASA’s next flagship astrophysics mission following the James Webb Space Telescope. The mission’s estimated cost is somewhere between $3.2 and $3.9 billion.

“Development of the WFIRST space telescope would have required a significant funding increase in 2019 and future years, with a total cost of more than $3 billion,” the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in its submitted document. “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 administration also proposed to eliminate the entire Office of Education at NASA. This move will end grants, scholarship, internships, and educational programs that run in schools, museums, and science centers.

Additionally, the new budget proposal will cancel five Earth science missions, including the Radiation Budget Instrument, the Plankton; Aerosol; Cloud; ocean Ecosystem (PACE), the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3, the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR)’s Earth-viewing instruments, and the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder.