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Trump Administration Budget Aims Lunar Exploration

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Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan

The U.S. has contributed about $100 billion to the station over this time.

"It really reflects the administration's confidence that America will lead the way back to the moon and take that next giant leap from where we made the first small step for humanity some 50 years ago", he said. All eyes were on the administration as President Trump unveiled his budget rollout for 2019, and there had been talk of cutting back NASA funding. The document says "increasing investments" above that $150 million will be included in future years' budget requests.

The idea is to ensure a seamless transition from government-funded ISS operations to an outpost using new components, or even elements of the current space station, that would be operated as a base for private sector innovation, global cooperation and NASA experiments and research needed for eventual flights back to the moon and on to Mars.

Cochair of the WFIRST research team, David Spergel, who is an astrophysicist at the Princeton University, thinks that it is bad that space astronomy leadership is being abandoned, following the recommendation of the Trump administration to cut the mission.

The Soyuz 2-1a booster carrying the Progress MS-08/69P cargo craft took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 3:13 a.m. EST (GMT-5; 2:13 p.m. local time), streaking away through a cold, overcast sky and climbing directly into the plane of the space station's orbit. Shown here: an artist's depiction of NASA's Deep Space Gateway in orbit near the moon.

The same budget proposal proposes to pull the plug on WFIRST, a space telescope mission that NASA said is "designed to settle essential questions in the areas of dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics".

"It's imperative, it's critical", Bigelow Aerospace founder and President Robert Bigelow told FOX Business, regarding the White House's budget request.

The budget also confirms the cancellation of five Earth-science missions proposed for termination previous year.

NASA's forthcoming mega-rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), also looms large in the budget. "NASA has got itself into a position like they had with the shuttle". This is $500 million more than what was budgeted in 2018, but $61 million less than what Congress provided in 2017, under the Obama administration.

The government has cited higher priorities at the US space agency for backing the cancellation. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is any guide.

Under the administration's budget proposal, released Monday, NASA would stop paying for the space station by 2025.

A report on the tech website The Verge said a draft of the budget proposal anticipated ending funding for the space station after 2024, which the Post report followed up with news that the administration was looking to keep the ISS operational, but not on its dime or under its authority.

The American leader stressed out that this time, the mission on the moon will not only follow the installation of the USA flag and to just leave traces on the lunar ground, but also to establish "the main base for a possible journey to Mars".

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