JAXA Faces Severe Budget Cuts


Japan aerospace budget to be cut, research canceled in national fiscal reductions

A Japanese governmental advisory committee looking to cut billions of dollars worth of wasteful spending from the country’s 2010 fiscal year budget has recommended that specific funds to Japan’s aerospace program (JAXA) be reduced, including a call to end research related to the development of a new rocket engine.

As part of a first round of recommendations for cuts and reductions that have amounted to 278.7 billion yen (approximately $3.1 billion USD), the committee on November 17th called for an end to research on the over-budget GX rocket engine, the Yomiuri reported. Requested funds for the 2010 fiscal year amounted to 5.8 billion yen (~$65 million USD).

The research on the GX engine began in 2003 with an anticipated cost of around 45 billion yen (~$502 million USD). However, current expected final costs for completion have ballooned three to four times that of the initial projection. Seventy billion yen (~$782 million USD) have already been spent on its development, and another 550 billion to 1,150 billion yen (~$614-$1,284 million USD) beyond that would likely be necessary, according to the Asahi. Such unanticipated costs even the Board of Audit of Japan had previously told JAXA was “inappropriate.”

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