SAN FRANCISCO – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has not furloughed employees due to the ongoing government shutdown but “may have to consider some adjustments on a mission-by-mission basis” if Congress does not approve NASA funding by the end of January, Veronica McGregor, JPL spokeswoman, said in an emailed response to questions.
NASA pays the California Institute of Technology to manage JPL, a federally funded research and development center in Pasadena, California, with about 6,000 employees and a $2.5 billion 2018 budget. JPL also receives funding for specific projects from NASA and other U.S. government agencies.
Because of its varied funding sources, JPL is in a better position to weather the current political storm than NASA’s owned and operated field centers. Most of the space agency’s civil service workforce already has been furloughed.
On Wednesday, Caltech President Thomas Rosenbaum addressed the government shutdown in a message to the Caltech community. “As the partial government shutdown enters a record fourth week, Caltech operations continue apace, but future negative consequences remain a possibility,” Rosenbaum said. “The most significant impact is on JPL. Prior to the shutdown, laboratory management worked with NASA to maximize the available funding for JPL’s tasks. To date, JPL has ...