FY 2013 Request for National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Share This

Publication date: 
16 February 2012

In  describing NASA’s FY 2013 request of $17.7 billion, NASA Administrator Charles  Bolden said “Despite a constrained fiscal environment, this budget continues to  aggressively implement the space exploration program agreed to by the President  and a bipartisan majority in Congress . . . laying the foundation for  remarkable discoveries here on Earth and in deep space.” Alluding to congressional criticism of the  Obama Administration’s decision to cancel the Constellation Program, Bolden  added, “The time for debate about our future is over. We have a solid plan, a  sustainable plan, and we’re moving out to implement it . . . opening the next  great chapter of American exploration.”

Later  in his remarks, Bolden discussed space science, the James Webb Space Telescope,  and the Administration’s decision to not to move forward with 2016 and 2018  ExoMars missions:

“This  year we will land Curiosity, the largest rover ever, on Mars and continue to  develop and conduct critical tests on the James Webb Space Telescope leading to  its planned launch in 2018. As the successor to Hubble Space Telescope, the  Webb telescope will again revolutionize our understanding of the universe.

“This  budget supports more than 80 science missions – 56 currently in operation and  28 now under development - that cover the vital data we need to understand our  own planet; diverse missions reaching farther into our solar system; and the  next generation of observatories peering beyond the reaches of our neighborhood  to other galaxies and their solar systems and undiscovered phenomena.

“However,  tough choices had to be made.

“This  means we will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 and 2018 ExoMars  missions that we had been exploring with the European Space Agency. Instead, we  will develop an integrated strategy to ensure that the next steps for Mars  exploration will support science as well as human exploration goals, and potentially  take advantage of the 2018-2020 exploration window.  The budget provides support for this new  approach, and this process will be informed by extensive coordination with the  science community and our international partners.

“This  Administration remains committed to a vibrant and coordinated strategy of Mars  exploration and continuing America’s leadership role in the exploration of the  Red Planet within the available budget.  Our  goals include not only new path-breaking robotic missions to Mars, but also  future human missions, as outlined by the President.

“I  have tasked the head of the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. John Grunsfeld;  the head of Human Exploration, Bill Gerstenmaier; our Chief Technologist, Dr.  Mason Peck; and our Chief Scientist, Dr. Waleed Abdalatti, with crafting an  integrated Mars strategy – one that will ensure that the next steps for the  Robotic Mars Exploration Program will support science as well as long-term  human exploration goals.

“The  missions currently at Mars, the Mars Science Laboratory on its way, and MAVEN  well into development, will provide many years of data to help us understand  the Red Planet and our needs in future years to meet the President's challenge  to send humans to Mars in the mid-2030s.”

Detailed  information on NASA’s FY 2013 request is provided in its 775-page budget  submission to Congress.  Below are figures for the agency’s major  programs:

Total  NASA:

Down  $58.6 million or 0.3 percent from $17,770.0 million to $17,711.4 million


Down  $162.5 million or 3.2 percent from $5,073.7 million to $4,911.2 million.

Within  this budget are the following programs:

  • Earth  Science: Up $24.3 million or 1.4 percent from $1,760.5 to $1,784.8 million
  • Planetary  Science: Down $309.1 million or 20.6 percent from $1,501.4 million to $1,192.3  million
  • Astrophysics:  Down $13.3 million or 2.0 percent from $672.7 million to $659.4 million
  • James  Webb Space Telescope: Up $109.0 million or 21.0 percent from $518.6 million to  $627.6 million
  • Heliophysics:  Up $26.5 million or 4.3 percent from $620.5 million to $647.0 million


Down  $17.9 million or 3.1 percent from $569.4 million to $551.5 million

Space  Technology:

Up  $125.3 million or 21.8 percent from $573.7 million to $699.0 million


Up  $220.0 million or 5.9 percent from $3,712.8 million to $3,932.8 million

Space  Operations:

Down  $173.8 million or 4.2 percent from $4,187.0 million to $4,013.2 million


Down  $36.1 million or 26.5 percent from $136.1 million to $100.0 million

Cross-Agency  Support:

Down  $146.4 million or 4.9 percent from $2,993.9 million to $2,847.5 million

Construction  and Environmental Compliance and Restoration:

Up  $132.2 million or 27.2 percent from $487.0 million to $619.2 million

Office  of Inspector General:

Down  $1.3 million or 3.4 percent from $38.3 million to $37.0 million

Of note, page 164 of  the budget document   outlines the agency’s plans regarding restarting Pu-238 production.

Explore FYI topics: