In May 2016, the Game Changing Development Program’s Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) project completed TRL 6 milestone testing on its key deliverable, an integrated deep-space flight laser transmitter assembly. Proposed on several Discovery missions, the technology undergoes a transition review in June and is expected to advance to NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) program.
The House of Representatives passed the FY2016 Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) appropriations bill (H.R. 2578) on June 3, 2015. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the measure, which includes funding for NASA and NOAA.
The highlights involving NASA’s budget include:
$3.4 billion for Space Launch System, Orion and related ground systems, an increase of $546 million over the President’s request;
$1 billion for Commercial Crew, a reduction of $243.8 million from the request;
$625 million for space technology, a reduction of $100 million.
$1.56 billion for planetary exploration, an increase of $196 million;
$1.68 billion for Earth science, a reduction of $264 million;
$140 million to begin work on the Jupiter Europa Clipper mission;
$19 million to maintain operations of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and $13.7 million for the Mars Opportunity Rover;
a requirement to use the Space Launch System for the Jupiter Europa mission; and,
a stipulation that $25 million of the space technology budget “shall be for icy satellites surface technology and test beds.”