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NASA’s 2017 Budget Request Cuts Orion, SLS Rocket Budget

Inside President Obama’s new budget request is a $19 billion request for NASA. It’s a cut of about $260 million from last year’s budget.

One of the bigger cuts came to NASA’s Orion capsule and the Space Launch System (SLS) – that’s the rocket sending Orion to places like a lunar orbit and, one day, Mars.

Funding for those programs was cut by more than $600 million compared to year’s budget.

An unmanned test flight of Orion and the SLS rocket is on schedule for 2018. But Mary Lynn Dittmer, Executive Director of the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, said this cut in funding could delay future test flights.

“Program instability is difficult to plan to, and it can have negative impacts on a program,” said Dittmer. “The longer it draws out these programs, the more expensive it makes them, the more difficult it makes planning, and the harder it is to clarify plans. So, there’s essentially an entire series of things that happen [after] a reduction in funding.”

NASA’s division that develops experimental aircraft received the biggest bump this budget – an increase of about $150 million.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. He also helps produce WMFE's public affairs show "Intersection," working with host ... Read Full Bio »