Technology

The White House has requested $ 21 billion from the US Congress for NASA. Where are they going to spend?

The US administration has requested from the US Congress 21a billion dollars to finance the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in fiscal year 2020, which begins on October 1. This is stated in the budget request published on Monday at the space agency’s website. The document states that the key and priority tasks for NASA for the next decade are missions aimed at the exploration of the Moon and Mars. At the start of the implementation of programs in this area, the White House asks Congress to allocate almost half of the requested budget.

Requested NASA budget of 283 milliondollars or 1.4 percent more than in 2019, ”noted on the agency’s website. At the same time, in the current fiscal year, lawmakers allocated $ 500 million more to finance the administration than the administration has now requested. The document also provides a list of scientific missions that, according to White House recommendations, NASA should be canceled or at least frozen indefinitely.

WFIRST is not needed yet

Artistic representation of the WFIRST space telescope

Administration of US President Donald Trump inWith a budget request for NASA, three research missions of the agency are proposed to be canceled: a project to develop a telescope, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), and two projects to study the Earth's climate.

This is not the first time the White House is tryingfreeze the project to create a new flagship space telescope WFIRST worth $ 3.2 billion. In the future, it will have to come to replace the not yet launched space telescope of the new generation of James Webb (launch into Earth orbit is scheduled for 2021). For example, a similar proposal was made by the Presidential Administration and in the framework of the budget request to the US Congress for NASA in 2019. At the same time a proposal was made to note five scientific missions related to the study of the Earth’s climate. However, the US Senate voted to continue supporting projects, and also donated money to continue the development of WFIRST in order to prepare it for launch in 2025.

The new budget request for the White House saysthat “the development project of WFIRTS must be stopped, and the funds allocated for it should be directed to the completion of the James Webb space telescope, the launch of which has already been postponed many times. It is also proposed to stop supporting the scientific missions of PACE (Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem) and CLARREO Pathfinder. As part of the first implies the launch into Earth orbit in 2022 satellites, the task of which will be to monitor the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as monitor the concentrations of aerosol compounds in it. In addition, with the help of the apparatus, it was proposed to monitor the oceans biosphere. As part of CLARREO Pathfinder, it is intended to send a new scientific instrument to the International Space Station in 2020, which will allow the agency to test the technologies needed for the next phase of the project aimed at collecting data to update climate models.

Last year, both missions, along with three other(the same focus) were included in the list of projects that were proposed to freeze or close. However, in this case, the US Congress rose to their defense, providing the necessary funding. At the same time, in the new budget request, the White House is asking to restore funding for two other projects, which he himself proposed to close a year ago. They are on studying climate change. One of them is Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). It proposes launching a satellite to monitor the planet’s climate and space weather. As part of the second - Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3 (OCO-3) - it is planned to install a new scientific instrument outside the ISS, which will be used to monitor levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

SLS booster is almost ready

Since the most important goals of the new spaceNASA programs are the return of man to the moon, and then flights to Mars, in the new budget request for a "new research company" is proposed to allocate 10.7 billion dollars. At the expense of these funds, it is planned to complete the construction of a super-heavy launch vehicle Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft for manned launches, as well as to finance projects aimed at the first stages of developing the near-moon station and technologies necessary for the construction of the first human settlement on the satellite of our planet.

On the new launch vehicle SLS agency NASAmakes big bets. It is assumed that the carrier will have several modifications. One will be used to launch new research missions into deep space, the other to send astronauts to other planets in the solar system, in particular to Mars. The first of the modifications is called Block 1. Its feature is the use of the oxygen-hydrogen upper stage of the Delta IV Heavy rocket, which has been renamed the Cryogenic Propulsion Stage. SLS Block 1 will be capable of outputting 70 tons to Earth's low orbit. As indicated in the published document, the first test launch of the launch vehicle in unmanned mode is scheduled for the beginning of the 2020s, which indicates a deviation from the initial launch schedule, which was to be held in 2020 as part of the EM-1 mission Exploration Mission 1, "Research Mission number 1").

Later in the 105-ton modification of Block 1B topthe stage is planned to be replaced by a more powerful EUS (Exploration Upper Stage, Research Upper Stage). In the modification of Block 2, which will appear after 2030 and will have a loading capacity of at least 130 tons, both the upper stage and side solid fuel boosters will be upgraded.

In the new budget request for fiscal year 2020for NASA, the White House proposes to postpone development work on the Space Launch System launch vehicle, focusing on completing the initial version of the SLS, which is almost ready, and redistributing some of the planned launch projects to other launch vehicles. Also, the US Administration has made a proposal not to use SLS for one of the planned missions that are not aimed at space exploration. Instead, the White House proposes to allocate an additional 600 million dollars to the Europa Clipper mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2023. NASA itself, in turn, is considering the possibility of entrusting the launch of this mission to some commercial contractor, without using SLS for it. This, according to the agency, "will save more than 700 million dollars, which can be distributed to other projects."

Gateway lunar orbital station and the first lunar colony

On the occasion of making a budget request for NASA Whitehome of the space agency head, Jim Brydenstein gathered at the Space Center. Kennedy held a press conference at which he spoke about future plans and prospects for the exploration of the moon.

“For the first time in more than 10 years, we havebudget, allowing us to return to the moon. It is not only about sending robotic missions to the surface of the satellite. We are talking about sending people there to consolidate there forever, ”the head of the space agency said.

"We will go to the moon in the next decade with innovative technologies and systems to explore more places on the satellite surface than ever before," add NASA.

“Starting with a series of small commercial missions onThe moon is already this year, we will use new ships, robots and eventually by 2028 we will send people to conduct scientific research on the entire surface of the moon. During these missions, the crew will be able to stay on the lunar surface for up to seven days - longer than during any other missions to the Moon in history, the budget request document says.

During the press conference Brydenstein many timestouched upon the theme of the near-moon orbital station Gateway, for the development of which it is proposed to allocate all necessary funds for the agency’s budget request for 2020. The budget includes “$ 10.7 billion to continue building key components” to “send astronauts to the moon and beyond”, as well as $ 363 million to support the commercial development of a large lunar landing module, which will be able to carry cargo at first, and then astronauts to the surface of the moon. "

Initially the first components of the station GatewayIt was planned to launch using the upgraded version of the launch vehicle Space Launch System, but the new budget request states that this may lead to a delay in scheduled launches. In 2020, it is planned to allocate only $ 375 million for the refinement of the SLS. Thus, it is proposed to deliver some components of the station to the Moon with the help of commercial contractors. The document also states that by 2022 electromotive and other modules should be delivered to the Moon’s orbit, which will allow astronauts to remain at the station starting from 2024.

As noted in the management, the experience gained in sending astronauts to the moon will be used when flying to Mars.

“The moon is just a testing ground. Our goal is Mars. But to achieve it, an integrated approach is needed, ”said Brydenstein at a press conference.

New rovers

Artistic representation of the “Marrise-2020”, which collects soil samples for shipment to Earth during a subsequent mission

NASA also talked about future plans formastering mars. In particular, the head of the aerospace agency noted that the requested budget in full, in the form of $ 2.6 billion, included support for two new Mars exploration projects. It is about sending two new Mars rovers to the Red Planet in 2020 and 2026. In each of these missions, it is planned to conduct a phased project to collect samples of Martian soil for shipment to Earth for research.

About the project "rover 2020" we wrote repeatedly. The launch of the device is scheduled for the summer of 2020, and the landing on Mars - February 18, 2021. During this mission, it is also planned to send a special robotic helicopter to the Red Planet, which will be able to conduct reconnaissance of the area and transmit to the rover data on potentially interesting targets for research.

About the rover, which is planned to send toMars in 2026, NASA announced for the first time. However, unfortunately, in the document more detailed details about this mission are not reported. It says only that the mission will be the second and final part of the project to collect samples of Martian soil and deliver these samples to Earth.

In 2020, NASA plans to spend on"Martian activity" 109 million dollars. The bulk of these funds will be directed to the early stages of the development of the Mars Rover-2026 mission. The following years, the agency will be allocated several hundred million dollars to continue the development of this project.

Request by the White House 21 billion dollars forThe development of the NASA space program for 2020 does not mean that the agency will necessarily receive all this money. The final amount of budget notes will be determined by the US Congress.

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