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White House seeks near-term cuts to NASA and NOAA programs

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White House seeks near-term cuts to NASA and NOAA programs
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WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is asking Congressional appropriators to cut $90 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather satellite programs and $50 million from NASA science programs in any fiscal year 2017 spending bills they approve in the next month.

The requested cuts are part of a broader package of nearly $18 billion of cuts in non-defense discretionary spending the White House is seeking in spending bills that Congress must pass by April 28 or risk a government shutdown. News of the proposed cuts was first reported March 28 by Politico.

The 13-page list of requested cuts, dated March 23 and provided by the White House to House and Senate appropriators, proposes $17.935 billion in cuts compared to fiscal year 2016 spending levels. The federal government has been operating at those spending levels since the 2017 fiscal year started Oct. 1 under a continuing resolution that lasts until April 28.

The document requests a $50 million cut in NASA’s science programs, about a 1 percent reduction from 2016 levels. The administration offers few details about the cut, other than they would be distributed among science programs, “including cuts to unused reserves and missions that are cancelled in the 2018 Budget.”

The fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint, issued March 16, proposed cancelling four Earth science missions: the Plankton, Aerosol, Cloud, ocean Ecosystem (PACE) satellite, the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) Pathfinder and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) 3 instruments for the International Space Station, and the Earth imaging instruments on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR).

PACE, CLARREO Pathfinder and OCO-3 are all in development, while DSCOVR launched in 2015. NASA, in its fiscal year 2017 budget request in February 2016, requested a combined $47.3 million for CLARREO Pathfinder, DSCOVR and OCO-3 for fiscal year 2017, while PACE was still in its pre-formulation phase at the time of its budget request.

The document suggested other programs beyond Earth science could also be affected by the proposed cut. “It is possible missions would be delayed and/or grants reduced,” it stated, without providing additional details.

The administration’s request also seeks to cut NOAA weather satellite programs by $90 million from 2016 levels. However, the administration’s 2017 budget request had already included a similar decrease, reflecting progress made on next-generation satellite programs, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite R (GOES-R) and Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS).

“This level reflects the planned ramp-downs of JPSS and GOES weather satellites, and the ramp-up of the PFO program,” the document stated, referencing the Polar Follow-On program for the third and fourth JPSS satellites. The administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint suggested it would seek savings from the Polar Follow-On program “by better reflecting the actual risk of a gap in polar satellite coverage.”

The administration also seeks to cut funding for Earth Observing Nanosatellite-Microwave (EON-MW) mission, which would fly a microwave sounder as a gapfiller should there be a problem with a similar instrument on the first JPSS satellite. NOAA requested $10 million for EON-MW, although the project had mixed support in Congress.

NASA officials had no initial comment on the administration’s proposed cuts. Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s astrophysics division, was asked about the cut during a presentation at a meeting of the Committee of Astronomy and Astrophysics of the National Academies here March 28. He said he was not aware of the proposal.

Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science, also did not directly address the proposed cut during a planetary presentation at the National Academies’ Space Science Week meeting March 28. He did mention the ongoing continuing resolution funding NASA program until April 28. “At which point, something is happening,” he said. “Either a budget comes out or we go forward” with another CR.

SpaceNews.com

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The Elephants Trunk in IC 1396 : Like an illustration in a…

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The Elephants Trunk in IC 1396 : Like an illustration in a…

The Elephants Trunk in IC 1396 : Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephants Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Of course, the cosmic elephants trunk is over 20 light-years long. This composite was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in the region. The resulting image highlights the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within the obscuring cosmic dust. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. via NASA

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Source: Just Space


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Teledyne completes $789 million takeover of Britain’s e2v

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Teledyne completes $789 million takeover of Britain’s e2v
Mayor of Backnang visits e2v

WASHINGTON — Fresh off of winning a $10 million contract to supply infrared detectors for Europe’s Jupiter-bound Juice spacecraft, Teledyne Technologies has absorbed a British firm that builds space cameras.

Thousand Oaks, California-based Teledyne announced March 28 the completion of its $789 million acquisition of e2v, a Chelmsford, U.K. company that builds space-qualified imagers and arrays, semiconductors, and other products. Cameras on the European Space Agency’s Rosetta comet mission, the Peruvian government’s PerúSAT-1 and NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter were build by e2v.

Outside of space, e2v supplies imaging sensors and custom camera solutions for the machine vision market, and RF components and subsystems for healthcare, industrial and defense applications. The company reported $295 million in sales for the year ended March 31, 2016.

“Every business within e2v is highly complementary to Teledyne and will contribute to our balanced portfolio of highly engineered products,” said Teledyne chief executive Robert Mehrabian. “From industrial machine vision to space-based imaging, microwave devices spanning radar to radiotherapy, and specialty semiconductors through micro electro-mechanical systems, our respective capabilities and engineering-centric cultures are truly a great fit.”

The acquisition gives Teledyne Technologies a stronger presence in the U.K., where it was already present, and greater reach into Europe.

Its Teledyne Defence business, based in the U.K., is supplying repeater equipment for OneWeb’s first 900 satellites, which are being built by the Airbus and OneWeb joint venture OneWeb Satellites. 

Teledyne Scientific & Imaging, also in Thousand Oaks, California, received the contract March 20 from the French space agency CNES worth $9.98 million to supply infrared detectors and electronics for the ESA’s Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer, or Juice, mission.

SpaceNews.com

Source: Space News


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