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Senator: NASA budget proposal to include asteroid retreival mission
Posted: Sat, Apr 6, 2013, 12:03 PM ET (1603 GMT)
Asteroid capture illustration (Rick Sternbach/KISS) A key member of the US Senate said Friday that the White House's 2014 budget proposal due out next week will include funding to begin work on a mission to move a small asteroid into cislunar space. Sen. Bill Nelson, chairman of the space subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee, told reporters in Orlando on Friday that the budget proposal, to be publicly released on April 10, will include $100 million to begin study on a concept to send a robotic mission to a very small asteroid and move it to the vicinity of the Moon. A crewed Orion spacecraft, launched on an SLS rocket, would then fly to the asteroid in 2021 to explore it. The mission concept is similar to a study released last year by the Keck Institute of Space Studies, which estimated the cost of the asteroid retrieval mission at $2.6 billion. The funding in the 2014 budget proposal, according to other work, would be spent on searches for candidate asteroids as well as early work on the retrieval spacecraft and its solar electric propulsion system.
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