WASHINGTON — A spending bill to be marked up by the House Appropriations Committee would provide some funding for a NASA space telescope proposed for cancellation, but not necessarily enough to keep the mission on schedule.
The House Appropriations Committee released May 16 the report accompanying the spending bill approved by commerce, justice and science (CJS) committee May 9. The full committee is scheduled to mark up the bill May 17 and send it to the full House for later consideration. That report provides additional information on funding levels for agencies such as NASA covered by the bill, as well as additional policy provisions.
That reports provides funding for the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which the administration proposed cancelling in its fiscal year 2019 budget request in February. The report offers $150 million for WFIRST, the same amount that the mission received in the final fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill in March. However, NASA’s 2018 budget proposal projected spending $302 million on the mission in 2019.
In the report, appropriators expressed concerns about the cost of the mission, citing a report by an independent review panel last year that estimated WFIRST was well above its proposed cost ...