Space: April 18, 2001


President Bush has warned NASA that it's budget will not increase to cover new programs and the $1 billion shortfall in the International Space Station account for the year. The $14.5 billion NASA budget will actually decline by $153 million in real dollars due to inflation and higher costs. The agency is launching a purge, canceling the X34 and X33 programs. The space shuttle will fly only six times instead of eight, which is both due to and causes delays in the International Space Station. Space probes to Pluto and the Sun were also canceled. NASA is facing criticism from the Europeans, who complain that NASA only allows one European astronaut a ride into space each year. They want a European on every shuttle and station crew. Japan has completed full-scale mock-ups of the Kibo Experiment Module they are building for the International Space Station to begin crew training. NASA's inspector general wants to resume the practice of requiring a waiver document on any design or calculation not done in metric units. That document would alert people working on the program that each number must be confirmed as to what units it is in, and would have prevented the loss of a Mars probe in September 99.--Stephen V Cole




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