From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2001
OFFICE OF SPACE SCIENCE (Code S)
Associate Administrator: Dr. Edward Weiler
Public Affairs Contacts:
Donald Savage 202/358-1727
Dolores Beasley 202/358-1753
The total Fiscal Year 2002 Appropriations budget request for the Office of Space Science is $2,786.4 million; this is comprised of $2,453.0 million of formerly Science, Aeronautics, and Technology Appropriation funding and $333.4 million of formerly Mission Support Appropriation funding.
SPACE SCIENCE OVERVIEW
NASA's Space Science Enterprise is looking for answers to the following questions:
A summary of Space Science highlights and discoveries during calendar year 2000 is available on the Web at: http://spacescience.nasa.gov/announce/topten2000.htm
New Programs and Other Major Features in the 2002 Budget
The newly restructured Mars Exploration Program (MEP) will deliver a continuously refined understanding of Mars with the excitement of discovery at every step. The MEP strategy includes a natural responsiveness to scientific discoveries that will emerge as new observations are made. The strategy is linked to NASA's experience exploring Earth, and uses Mars as a natural laboratory for understanding life and climate on Earth-like planets. The 2001 Mars Odyssey orbiter was launched April 7, 2001, and twin Mars Exploration Rovers are being prepared for launch in 2003. Meanwhile, also in progress are: planning for a Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission in 2005; construction of a new Deep Space Network (DSN) 34-meter antenna to support communications with the growing number of Mars and other Deep Space missions; and preliminary planning for a scientifically competed series of "Mars Scout" missions. In addition, science definition and technology development for a next-generation, mobile surface laboratory in 2007 is underway. Basic technology investments leading to launch of a Mars sample return mission as early as 2011 are also included in the FY 2002 budget request.
As a result of projected cost growth for missions to Pluto and Europa , NASA recently announced the indefinite deferral of the Pluto mission. Prior to this deferral, the Agency had released an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) soliciting science community proposals for alternative Pluto missions. Although no funding for a Pluto mission is included in the President's FY 2002 budget request, evaluation of proposals received in response to the AO will be completed. The decision to solicit proposals came three months after unacceptably large cost increases on the Pluto/Kuiper Express (PKE) mission led NASA on Sept. 12 to issue a stop-order on the project to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.
The proposals received in response to the AO will provide a baseline from which NASA can measure progress in efforts to design an affordable Pluto mission. The Agency continues to seek cost-effective alternatives for a mission to reach the outermost planet prior to 2020, when it is believed that the planet's atmosphere will have collapsed. The President's request includes funding to support technology development for advanced in-space propulsion systems. If such a system were developed, it could enable a mission to travel to Pluto much more quickly than current technology allows, enabling a launch later in this decade, or perhaps early in the next decade, while still getting to Pluto before 2020. The shorter trip time would also reduce life-cycle costs, due to the reduced number of years the mission would operate. Meanwhile, NASA is pursuing the technologies and doing the planning necessary to enable a mission to Europa later this decade.
The Living with a Star (LWS) initiative will address aspects of the Sun-Earth system that affect life and society. Its program elements include a space-weather research network; a theory, modeling and data analysis program; and space environment test-beds. Solar variability can affect space systems, human space flight, electric power grids, high-frequency radio communications, long-range radar, microelectronics and humans in high-altitude spacecraft, and terrestrial climate. Prudence demands that NASA fully understand the space environment affecting these systems. The Solar Probe mission, slated to be NASA's first voyage to a star, was not determined to be a near-term budget priority for NASA, and is not funded in the FY 2002 budget. In the event that the Solar Probe is assigned a high priority by the solar and space physics science community, the mission could be funded out of the resources planned for other solar and space physics programs.
There are currently 29 operating Space Science spacecraft, including many involving various degrees of international cooperation. Between now and the end of FY 2002, several missions are scheduled for launch, including:
Programs Under Development or Study
The Office of Space Science has a number of other programs under development, or under study for possible future development. More information on Space Science programs under development or study can be found on the Web at:
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