In response to budget constraints, NASA is contemplating potential budget reductions for two of its most iconic space telescopes, the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. These budget cuts could impact the future operation of these missions.
Mark Clampin, the director of NASA's astrophysics division, recently presented the possibility of "unspecified" budget cuts during a presentation to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine's committee on astronomy and astrophysics. The aim is to allocate funds to other priorities within the division.
The proposed budget cuts are a result of the expectation that NASA's astrophysics division will not receive the requested $1.56 billion for fiscal year 2024. This shortfall is due to congressional legislation that limits non-defense discretionary spending for 2024 at 2023 levels, with only a 1% increase for 2025.
While the specific details of the budget cuts have not been disclosed, Clampin stated that they are still under consideration. He did mention that he managed to secure a "positive adjustment" in the budget for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory just recently.
The Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory are two of NASA's longest-running and most successful missions. Launched in 1990 and 1999, respectively, these telescopes have contributed significantly to our understanding of the universe.