NASA’s Near Earth Object Surveyor spacecraft currently has its development on standby as it awaits a Key Decision Point (KDP) B review. The review has been postponed until the spring of 2021 due to future budget uncertainties.

The Near Earth Object Surveyor spacecraft will be a space-based infrared telescope capable of detecting asteroids close to Earth. Unfortunately, moving forward with the development of the spacecraft is out of the question until the KDP-B review is completed.

Grey Hautaluoma, a NASA spokesperson, had this to say on the review delay:

“The decision to delay the start of the next phase of this important mission is based on factors external to the NEO Surveyor project team. Specifically, NASA needs more time to assess COVID-19 impacts to the overall Planetary Science Division budget and assess appropriate life cycle costs for this mission to support decisions at KDP-B, as NEO Surveyor formulation activities continue.”

During a December 15 media roundtable held during the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the head of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office, Lindley Johnson, confirmed that budget issues had caused NASA to delay the KDB-P milestone. “Currently, the planetary defense program does not have in its budget line, through the next five years, sufficient funding to accomplish this mission yet.”

Aside from the budget issue, NASA has stated that progress on the Near Earth Object Surveyor has been going as planned. ‘High marks” had even been achieved in a recent technical assessment from a review board.

Via Space News

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