The Obama administration requests a 5.1 percent budget increase ($903.6 million) for NASA, that would raise the agency’s budget from $17.782 billion in FY 2009 to $18.686 billion in FY 2010. The administration also ordered a fast track review of NASA’s human space flight programs.
In a letter dated May 7 from Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren to NASA Acting Administrator Chris Scolese, Holdren reaffirms the President’s commitment to “renewed human exploration to the Moon and other destinations beyond low Earth orbit.” But Holdren also writes that given the cost and intellectual commitment associated with those missions, “an independent review of ongoing U.S. human space flight plans and programs, as well as alternatives…” is needed. Holdren specifies that the review “should determine the appropriate amount of R&D and complementary robotic activities needed to make human space-flight activities most productive and affordable over the long-term, as well as appropriate opportunities for international collaboration,” in addition to looking at an extension of International Space Station operations beyond 2016. The review is supposed to be done by August 2009.
Scolese’s letter of reply states that Norman Augustine, of “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” fame, will chair the blue-ribbon committee. W. Michael Hawes, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation will lead a NASA team to assist Augustine’s committee.
In a conference call, Doug Cook, Associate Administrator for Exploration Systems Mission Directorate said that NASA is still focused on Ares 1 and Orion, the replacement system for the Space Shuttle. Speaking about human space flight review, Cook said, “I do want to emphasize that it is important… that all of us in the space community… support the decisions that come out of the activity….” Cook added that he believes strongly in the importance of human space flight.
When asked about contracts for Ares 1 and Orion, NASA officials replied that they have support from the White House to “fully pursue our milestones,” that existing contracts will be honored, and that they will probably “hold off” on new contracting until after the review.
Below are select sections and programs from the budget proposal. NASA’s budget request, with explanations of the below programs can be found here.
Down 0.6 percent, or $26 million from $4.503 billion to $4.477 billion.
Up 1.8 percent, or $25 million from $1.38 billion to $1.405 billion.
Up 1.5 percent, or $20 million from $1.326 billion to $1.346 billion.
Down 7 percent, or $85 million from $1.206 billion to $1.121 billion.
Up 2.3 percent, or $13.4 million from $591.6 million to $605 million.
Up 1.4 percent, or $7 million from $500 million to $507 million.
“Following the human spaceflight review, the Administration will provide an updated request for Exploration activities reflecting the review’s results.”
Up 13 percent, or $457 million from $3.506 billion to $3.963 billion.
Up 15.6 percent, or $472 million from $3.033 billion to $3.505 billion.
Down 3.1 percent, or $14.6 million from $472.3 million to $457.7 million.
Up 7.1 percent, or $411 million from $5.765 billion to $6.176 billion.
Up 5.9 percent, or $175 million from $2.982 billion to $3.157 billion.
International Space Station:
Up 10 percent, or $207 million from $2.060 billion to $2.267 billion.
Space and Flight Support:
Up 4 percent, or $29 million from $723 million to $752 million.
Down 25.5 percent, or $43.1 million from $169.2 million to $126.1 million.
STEM Opportunities (Higher Education):
Up 22.1 percent, or $2.1 million from $9.5 million to $11.6 million.
NASA Space Grant:
Down 29 percent, or $11.6 million from $40 million to $28.4 million.
Minority University Research & Education Program:
Up 8.9 percent, or $2.5 million from $28.2 million to $30.7 million.
Global Climate Change Education:
No funding requested, down from $10 million.
STEM Student Opportunities (K-12):
Up 38.1 percent, or $4 million from $10.5 million to $14.5 million.
STEM Teacher Development (K-12):
Up 37.6 percent, or $7.9 million from $21 million to $28.9 million.
K-12 Competitive Educational Grant Program:
No funding requested, down from $16 million.
Science Museums and Planetarium Grants:
No funding requested, down from $7 million.
NASA Informal Education Opportunities:
A new program, $2.1 million.
Up 2.9 percent, or $95 million from $3.306 billion to $3.401 billion.
Up 8.3 percent, or $2.8 million from $33.6 million to $36.4 million.
*Figures are rounded.