NASA today formally instructed Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to take immediate action to reduce expenditures in response to the current federal budget impasse.
A letter from the NASA Management Office stipulates that Caltech implement a two-phase process for control and/or elimination of costs.
The first phase, to be planned and in operation by January 10, will eliminate all discretionary costs in areas such as travel, hiring of new personnel, some purchases, and overtime. Exempted are expenditures that are critical to missions now in flight, or those missions under development that must meet deadlines such as planetary launch windows. Other exempted expenditures include those necessary for Laboratory safety and security and any time-critical activities that can be individually justified, according to the NASA letter.
The second phase, if required in the event of a continued funding crisis, is to be presented to NASA for consideration by January 17. It will include further cutback measures including a partial shutdown of JPL operations. The specifics for any such partial shutdown remain to be worked out, said Laboratory officials. These measures would be taken only at NASA's direction.
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