News Picks : NASA gets extra funds for spaceflight module while Russia drastically cuts space budget
Space News: Jeff Foust reports in Space News that the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress this month gives NASA an extra $55 million and a directive to accelerate work on a habitation module that could be used for future deep space missions. Under NASA's original time frame, the module would be tested in space during the mid-to-late 2020s, but now the agency is expected to fly a prototype by 2018 at the latest. Congress has asked NASA to report within the next six months how it will spend the extra money. Meanwhile, Sputnik International reports a more negative situation for the Russian space agency Roscosmos. The low price of oil and the weak ruble have significantly affected the Russian state budget. In response, Roscosmos has been asked to make 88.5 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) in cuts. Under the updated version of the 2016–25 Federal Space Program roadmap, the agency will give up on manned flights to the Moon and all related activities at least until 2025.