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White House proposes $17.7 billion NASA budget, ends role in Mars mission
Posted: Mon, Feb 13, 2012, 9:59 PM ET (0259 GMT)
NASA The Obama Administration released Monday its proposed fiscal year 2013 budget, including just over $17.7 billion for NASA, while also ending NASA's role in a joint Mars mission with Europe. The proposed budget would give NASA $17.71 billion, about $60 million less than the agency received for 2012. The biggest change in the budget is a $300 million cut in the agency's planetary science program, including termination of planned cooperation with the European Space Agency on the ExoMars program, which included an orbiter in 2016 and lander/rover in 2018. NASA officials said they were restructuring its Mars exploration plan, including potential missions in 2018 and 2020 that were less expensive than ExoMars, while also leaving the door open for renewed cooperation with Europe. Many other aspects of the proposal are similar to 2012, including funding for the SLS heavy-lift rocket, Orion MPCV crew capsule, and commercial crew development funding. The James Webb Space Telescope, threatened with cancellation last summer, would get over $600 million in 2013 to keep it on track for a 2018 launch. The release of the budget proposal kicks off a budget process with Congress that is unlikely to end before late this year.
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