President Donald Trump’s proposal to cut NASA’s 2018 budget means its education office, which creates programs for students from grade school through college, would be eliminated. But during a recent Senate appearance, Robert Lightfoot Jr., NASA’s acting administrator, assured senators the agency’s focus on education won’t change.
Lightfoot spent much of his time before the Senate space committee defending the agency’s proposed $19.1 billion budget, a drop of $561 million from current spending.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Space Grant program, founded in 1989 to expand science, technology, engineering and math education access, as well as the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR, designed to improve regional research infrastructure and R&D capabilities, would both end under the current proposal.
But Lightfoot said many education programs including grants, research challenges and prizes are funded by areas other than the education office, and would not be affected.