Don Beyer leads House effort to protect funding for key NASA mission

Don BeyerRep. Don Beyer (D-VA), a member of the House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, led an appropriations request to protect funding for NASA’s Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) mission.

The President’s recently-released budget recommended the elimination of the mission, even though it was identified as the top priority on the National Research Council’s most recent astrophysics Decadal Survey in 2010, and is expected to lead to key scientific discoveries related to the origin and evolution of the universe, and potential for life on exoplanets. Rep. Beyer’s letter sought “at least $542 million” for WFIRST in FY2020.

“I was disappointed to see the President’s budget again request cuts to key NASA science programs, despite strong support for those missions in the scientific community,” said Rep. Beyer. “I am hopeful that Congress will continue investing in scientific programs and space exploration, which return enormous value to the American people. Several years ago I asked NASA Administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden what NASA’s constancy of purpose should be, and without hesitation he said ‘science.’ WFIRST and other top scientific priorities at NASA deserve support and funding from Congress, and I will continue to push for the successful development of these missions.”

Beyer questioned NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine about funding cuts to NASA education and science programs, including WFIRST, in the President’s budget during a Science Committee hearing this week.

A signed copy of the letter is available here.

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