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US space agency NASA is facing some budgetary setbacks. A new report revealing the budget laid out for the agency in the coming years would mean that the upcoming and the current missions are under threat.
Express reports that NASA officials had a few meetings to discuss the budget that will be laid out for 2021. With the costs presented for the upcoming year, the Orbiter mission and the Curiosity rover’s run would be at risk. The budget for 2021 puts the cost for the upcoming missions 21.4 percent higher than what was predicted back in 2017. According to the director of the Mars exploration Jim Watzin, “The FY20 budget appropriation, though very favorable for us, was significantly overstressed supporting some problem resolution that we had in multiple areas on the 2020 mission.”
Watzin also confirmed that the appropriation would deplete the agency’s support for the European Space Agency’s Mars Express Orbiter Mission as it was said to have done poorly. The same could go for the Odyssey mission, which could lose funding entirely.
However, Watzin also noted that the Odyssey and Curiosity Rover missions could still be saved as the budget appropriation is still just a proposal and has not yet been confirmed.
NASA’s planetary science division director Dr. Lori Glaze revealed that only a few missions would be placed at a high priority. Regarding the Perseverance rover, which is set to launch on July 17th, to collect rock and soil samples, Dr. Glaze assured that they are determined to meet the launch date.
“As of right now, even when we go to a next stage of alert, Mars 2020 is moving forward on schedule and everything is, so far, very well on track,” said Dr. Glaze.
Meanwhile, an old project belonging to NASA is reportedly being used by the US Air Force to supposedly test some hardware for a classified mission. Astrophysicist Scott Manley claimed back in 2019 that the Air Force was going to build an orbit vehicle named the X-37B, and went on to reveal some of the specifics about the vehicle.
“The front of it looks a lot like a miniature space shuttle with the classic lifting body nose and Delta wings. But then at the rear, it extends back a whole lot further, widens out and instead of a single tail, you have a V-shaped tail with a pair of rudders that are also elevators.”