If budget cuts expected to happen as part of the fiscal cliff are not avoided by Congress and President Barack Obama, NASA is set to lose more than $1.3 billion in funding that would cut as many as 20,000 jobs and cripple some programs.
Included in the cuts would be $154 million in funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, jeopardizing weather satellite coverage and that agency’s ability to forecast dangerous storms, reported the Daily Press
A report by the Aerospace Industries Association said that losing the positions at NASA and various private contractors represents the “single greatest threat to our space program’s continued success.”
Office of Budget and Management show that under the fiscal cliff’s ten-year, $109 billion automatic spending cuts, NASA would lose a total of $1.3 billion that fund its science budget, space operations, exploration, and cross-agency services.
“[NASA expects] all sides will reach an agreement to avoid sequestration,” said agency spokesman Allard Beutel. “But that being said, we’re still assessing what impact it would have if it actually goes through in a couple weeks.”
The AIA also said in its report that the loss of funding to NOAA would result in 2,500 jobs being cut, potentially harming the ability of the government agencies to properly study and predict large weather events such as Hurricanes and Nor’easters.
The jobs and equipment funding that could be cut because of the cliff would affect the satellite programs essential to those duties.
"The importance of maintaining satellite vigilance of weather phenomena cannot be overemphasized," the AIA report said.
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