CRAF science cut; Cassini teams selected


  • Anonymous


In mid-November the National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected the principal investigators and science teams for the Cassini mission to Saturn and “de-selected” two instruments on the Comet Rendezvous'Asteroid Flyby (CRAF) mission. The cancellation of the instruments—the penetrator and the scanning electron microscope and particle analyzer—was made to keep the costs of the joint CRAF/Cassini project within the $1.6 billion limit mandated by Congress. CRAF's costs had become a concern earlier this year due in part to increased cost estimates for the penetrator and the spacecraft's radioisotope thermoelectric generators and a decrease in funding for the spacecraft propulsion module, which is being provided by Germany. After a cost review of the program by NASA's Qffice of Space Science and Applications and recommendations by the National Research Council's Space Science Board, NASA decided that both the penetrator and the scanning electron microscope would have to be cut to keep CRAF within its budget.