The US National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) has, in common with other US government departments, suffered a partial shutdown following the failure of Congress to pass its funding via an appropriations bill. A dispute over funding for President Trump’s plan for an anti-illegal-immigrant wall between the USA and Mexico lies at the heart of the shutdown, with the Democrat side in Congress refusing to budge over the controversial plan. As a result, funding for many state departments, except defence, has been suspended since 22 December following the lapse of the “continuing resolution” for further funding. Only “essential” services are being maintained in the departments affected, which include NASA.
Space News reports that of NASA’s circa 17,500 employees, all will have been temporarily laid off bar about 1,100 needed (660 on a part time basis) for essential work related to the safety of the International Space Station and other key activities.