The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget request includes $19.1 billion for NASA, a $561 million decrease over previously enacted levels that would reduce the number of Earth science missions, eliminate the agency’s education office and do away with the Obama administration’s plans to robotically retrieve a piece of an asteroid as a precursor to eventual flights to Mars.
President Trump called the International Space Station Monday for a videochat watched by thousands of school kids, congratulating commander Peggy Whitson on becoming America’s most experienced astronaut and jokingly promising to get Americans to Mars “during my first term or, at worst, during my second term.”
Just 10 days after three space station fliers returned to Earth — and two days after launch of a station-bound supply ship — a veteran four-flight cosmonaut and an enthusiastic NASA rookie were cleared for launch Thursday to boost the lab’s crew up to five — one less than usual because of cost cutting by the Russian space agency.
NASA and Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, have agreed to extend astronaut Peggy Whitson’s stay aboard the International Space Station by three months to enable uninterrupted research aboard the orbital laboratory during a period when Russia is temporarily reducing its crew complement, the U.S. space agency said Wednesday.
Shane Kimbrough and Peggy Whitson, setting a new record as the world’s most experienced female spacewalker, floated outside the International Space Station Thursday and continued work to set up a second docking port for U.S. crew ferry ships. They also installed an upgraded computer relay box and protective shielding before calling it a day.