NASA Cuts 2 Earth Science Missions on White House Orders

March 14, 2011 at 8:32 am | Posted in Space Law Current Events | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: Space.com

WASHINGTON — Even though NASA’s Earth science budget is slated to rise next year, the U.S. space agency has been ordered by the White House to shelve a pair of big-ticket climate change missions that just last year were planned for launch by 2017.

With U.S. President Barack Obama under pressure to rein in federal spending, the White House eliminated funding for the Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory (CLARREO) and Deformation, Ecosystem Structure and Dynamics of Ice (DESDynI) missions, Steve Volz, associate director for flight programs at NASA’s Earth Science Division, said in a Feb. 24 interview.

The multiyear budget plan NASA sent Congress a year ago called for spending $1.2 billion between 2012 and 2015 to develop CLARREO and DESDynI, two of the four top-tier missions recommended by the National Research Council’s 2007 Earth Science decadal survey. But the White House Office of Management and Budget specifically removed these funds from the agency’s  2012 budget request, Volz said in an interview.

The other two top-tier Earth science missions — Soil Moisture Active-Passive and ICESat-2 — remain budgeted for launch in 2014 and 2016, respectively.

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