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NASA Narrows Scope for Proposed Astrophysics Missions
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 06, 2018

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NASA Astrophysics has directed the teams working on the next potential 2020 Decadal Survey mission to narrow the scope of their proposed missions and cap costs at $3 billion to $5 billion. This new addition of a cost cap reflects the agency's rebalancing of the astrophysics program within current and anticipated budget constraints.

In 2016, the Agency initiated four studies of large strategic flagship missions (HabEx, LUVOIR, Lynx, OST) to be prioritized by the Decadal Survey to launch in the 2030s, after the James Webb Space Telescope and WFIRST.

The goal at the time was to design a mission that could deliver the best science for the budget spent. With recent delays and budget constraints surrounding the two major flagship missions, the new direction will better ensure that the next flagship mission be executed on time and within budget.

"The programmatic landscape has changed since the initial studies," said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters, Washington.

"We need to ensure we can accomplish breakthrough science while adhering to a realistic, executable scope and budget for the next decade. NASA has always been known for thinking outside the box and accomplishing what was thought to be impossible.

"I am optimistic we will continue to do so for the next flagship mission."

The final reports of the mission concepts are due to NASA by June 2019, although NASA may readjust the deliverables to allow for more time for the teams to complete their work.

Related Links
2020 Decadal Survey
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NASA selects US companies to advance space resource collection
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 01, 2018
NASA has selected 10 companies to conduct studies and advance technologies to collect, process and use space-based resources for missions to the Moon and Mars. NASA placed a special emphasis on encouraging the responders to find new applications for existing, terrestrial capabilities that could result in future space exploration capabilities at lower costs. The practice of in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) could increase safety and affordability of future human spaceflight missions by limiting t ... read more

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