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[i]Human-spaceflight budgeting continues pretty much as expected, with an $830 million request for commercial crew development (CCDev) work and only a slight drop in the $2.8 billion NASA is spending this year on its heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion multipurpose crew vehicle.
The SLS would get another $1.8 billion under the new request, which must clear an election-year Congress focused on deficit reduction. The exploration-vehicle figures track with last year's budget runout for fiscal 2013, with the Orion budget tweaked downward to keep it in pace with launch vehicle work.
NASA is "metering" spending on the congressionally mandated deep-space human vehicles to stay within the flat budget, and apparently has decided not to try to recover the deep congressional cut in CCDev work this year. For fiscal 2012, the agency sought $850 million and got $406 million, which set back its target for operational commercial crew flights to the International Space Station (ISS) from 2016 until 2017...
The budget cuts $300 million from planetary science, and kills the joint effort with the European Space Agency to explore Mars robotically in preparation for a sample-return mission. Europe has already prepared a bilateral Mars-exploration plan with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, after NASA withdrew from three-way talks in December.[/i]
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