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Author Topic:   NASA's Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget
Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-14-2011 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The White House today released its Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for NASA.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden together with Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson will provide more details during a 1 p.m. CST news briefing to be aired on NASA TV.

The NASA budget and supporting information will be available on the agency's website beginning at 12:30 p.m.

According to a summary released by the Administration this morning:

  • Provides $18.7 billion, the same amount the agency received in 2010. Funding focuses on areas that will improve the Nation's space capabilities, strengthen our competitive edge, and prepare the next generation of leaders in the field. The Budget also proposes to streamline operations and boost efficiencies at facilities.

  • Maintains the Nation's commitment to humanity's foothold in space -- the International Space Station -- bringing nations together in a common pursuit of knowledge and excellence.

  • Initiates development of a heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule to carry explorers beyond Earth's orbit, including a mission to an asteroid next decade -- the furthest journey in human history.

  • Embraces partnership with the commercial space industry and the thousands of new jobs that it can create by contracting with American companies to provide astronaut transportation to the Space Station -- thus reducing the risk of relying exclusively on foreign crew transport capabilities.

  • Supports groundbreaking innovations by continuing a program of robotic solar system exploration and new astronomical observatories, including a probe that will fly through the Sun's atmosphere and a new competitively-selected planetary science mission.

  • Supports a robust and diverse fleet of Earth observation spacecraft to strengthen U.S. leadership in the field, better understand climate change, improve future weather predictions, and provide vital environmental data to Federal, State, and local policymakers.

  • Sharpens the focus of the aeronautics research program by emphasizing enhancing aviation safety and airspace efficiency, and reducing the environmental impact of aviation.

  • Initiates a pilot program to provide NASA Centers and surrounding communities with clean energy through the innovative use of NASA property.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-14-2011 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA's FY 2012 budget details are now online:
NASA Announces Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

NASA announced Monday an $18.7 billion budget request for fiscal year 2012 that supports a reinvigorated path of innovation, technological development and scientific discovery. The budget supports all elements of NASA's 2010 Authorization Act, which was passed by a strong bipartisan majority of Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

"This budget requires us to live within our means so we can invest in our future," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "It maintains our commitment to human spaceflight and provides for strong programs to continue the outstanding science, aeronautics research and education needed to win the future."

The NASA budget includes $4.3 billion for the Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs, $5 billion for science, $3.9 billion for future exploration systems and $569 million for aeronautics research.

"This budget demonstrates the administration's commitment to maintaining NASA's leadership role in space," Deputy Administrator Lori Garver said. "It puts us on a path to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world."

The budget supports the transition of the space shuttle program's workforce and facilities when the fleet retires this year after 30 years of service. Among the program's many historic accomplishments is the construction of the International Space Station. The station will operate until at least 2020, allowing NASA to fully use it as a technology test-bed and national laboratory for human health research. While continuing to work with its international partners on station activities, NASA will select a non-profit organization to stimulate, develop and manage research activities on the U.S. portion of the station.

NASA has prioritized funding for its partnership with the commercial space industry to facilitate crew and cargo transport to the station. Companies will innovate to provide safe, reliable and cost effective access to low Earth orbit. NASA also will invest in the flight systems to take humans beyond low Earth orbit, including a deep space capsule and heavy lift rocket, and key research and technology to enable the long journeys.

NASA's science budget supports new missions and continued operations of the many observatories successfully studying Earth and space. The agency will launch the Mars Science Laboratory in fiscal year 2012 and continue work on a wide range of astrophysics, heliophysics and Earth science missions.

The 2012 budget request continues NASA's commitment to enhancing aviation safety and airspace efficiency, and reducing the environmental impact of aviation. NASA also remains dedicated to developing the next generation of technology leaders through vital programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"We had to make some tough choices, but the budget gives us a plan for sustainable and affordable exploration," said NASA's Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth Robinson. "We're looking at new ways of doing business that improve program management and delivers even greater results to the American taxpayers."

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-14-2011 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA's FY 2012 budget overview video:

Go4Launch
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posted 02-14-2011 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately, as today's Orlando Sentinel notes, "Monday's budget proposal, essentially, picks that fight all over again," that fight being: "Last year, the White House and Congress feuded for months about how NASA should replace the space shuttle before compromising on a plan that would spend limited money on commercial spacecraft while pushing NASA to build the new rocket and Apollo-like crew capsule."

I say unfortunate because no matter which direction you favor, it continues to leave NASA in limbo.

issman1
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posted 02-15-2011 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Overall, I found Mr. Obama's budget request so vague as to be the space equivalent of a magician's parlour trick: now you see it, now you don't.

Really is hard to get excited about it. But don't blame Mr. Bolden, blame the man in the White House for not giving his agency a credible destination beyond ISS. And especially blame the men and women on Capitol Hill who only ever think of the next election.

About the only thing that redeems them is the prospect of an entirely new approach to NASA human spaceflight: commercial crew. This must be funded appropriately.

DChudwin
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posted 02-16-2011 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One needs to consider the NASA budget in perspective. The total U.S.FY 2012 budget request is $3.73 trillion. The NASA request is $18.7 billion.

So NASA now receives 0.5% of the total budget. During the height of the Apollo program NASA had 5% of the budget, and even in the late 70's it received 1% of the total (which would be $37 billion now).

While $18.7 billion is not a small sum, NASA is trying to do more with less. On top of that, NASA is hampered by congressional earmarks and attempts by Congress to design rockets (such as in the NASA authorization bill).

There are positive aspects about the proposed NASA budget but it does not provide enough money for the heavy lift rocket development. There is no way that such a rocket will be ready by 2016 as Congress requested.

One needs to remember that budget requests are a starting point and that many changes will be made before it is enacted.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-07-2011 09:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reports that the House of Representatives' appropriations committee unveiled a 2012 spending bill July 6 that would cancel the James Webb Space Telescope as part of a broader $1.6 billion cut that would roll back spending on the nation's civil space program to pre-2008 levels.
The $16.8 billion top-line figure, released July 6 in draft legislation from the House Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee, is nearly $2 billion less than U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget request for NASA.

The draft appropriations bill, which the subcommittee is scheduled to vote on July 7, also includes $1.95 billion for the Space Launch System — the heavy-lift rocket Congress ordered NASA to build for deep space exploration. The proposed 2012 funding level is $150 million more than the heavy lifter got for 2011, but some $700 million below the amount recommended in the NASA Authorization Act of 2010, which became law in October.

SpaceAholic
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posted 07-07-2011 10:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Considering the almost logarithmic rate at which the cost of JWST has escalated and with its launch date potentially a decade away reluctantly support cancellation. Roll-back of government funding for commercial spaceflight is also appropriate given the deficit (commercial sector will step up to the plate and pick up the tab if they believe there is profitability - however it will also require a relaxation of the currently oppressive regulatory climate and corporate tax rates).

arjuna
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posted 07-08-2011 01:22 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with Scott that the appalling mismanagement of JWST led to such egregious cost overruns that the value of continuing it is certainly debatable. But given the sunk costs and the fact that if is successfully launched and deployed, it would be one of NASA's best assets in terms of public edification and enjoyment (cf. Hubble), I reluctantly support continuing that program. With reservations.

I do not agree that rollback of support for CCDev makes any sense whatsoever, unless we want to continue paying the Russians $40 million a pop (or whatever the number is) for that many more years. It's just penny-wise and pound foolish. And we must continue to invest in new technologies that are the only hope of leading to breakthroughs that are essential to the future of human spaceflight. And, for what it's worth, I think to cut all those programs in order to fund the "Senate Launch System", which is basically a jobs program that will repeat many of the mistakes of Shuttle (a vehicle in search of a mission), I find the current House budget proposal both cynical and foolish.

I won't address some of the other issues you raise, Scott, other than to say I respectfully disagree. But I do encourage people to take a look at Doug Messier's excellent post on this subject over at Parabolic Arc. I think he nails it.

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-08-2011 06:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Webb sadly should be cancelled. Why? It has become a symbol of waste at NASA, cancelling it will show that the agency must use funding responsibly or else. The money could be used for the manned program, or perhaps another planetary explorer. The agency doesn't need more negative press. How many of us will contact our reps about NASA's budget? Probably very few.

issman1
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posted 07-08-2011 06:30 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If this doesn't offer clarity to Americans whose to blame for the steady decline of NASA then nothing will.

The USA is in serious danger of having the same dismal, flippant and regressive sociopolitical attitude to space travel as we have in the UK. You have been warned!

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-08-2011 07:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have already reached that point sadly. Space advocates in general are divided, more interested in the past that the future and base their support of Federal space policy on whether or not they ike the man in the Oval Office.

capoetc
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posted 07-08-2011 08:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Ummm ... y'all do realize that this is a budget PROPOSAL and not a budget, right?

arjuna
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posted 07-09-2011 05:04 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes - it still has to be approved by the full Committee, then go to the full House. And then an approved budget (which is what is supposed to happen after whatever is approved by the House goes to the Senate, then back to joint committee, then to the WH) is not the same as an Appropriations bill, which is a whole other dealio, and where the rubber really meets the road.

But as an indication on where the leader of a critical committee stands on this - and therefore how this may break down along party lines - it's disturbing. To me anyway.

Philip
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posted 07-13-2011 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amazing "proposal" certainly as we all know that the importance of JWST's planned observations has increased since HST made its millionth observation. World's foremost effort, by scientists in the US, Europe and Canada, to push the boundaries of astrophysics is at stake.

Fra Mauro
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posted 07-19-2011 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think the problem with Webb was that it was too large a leap. Why couldn't NASA improve upon the Hubble design, of course, launching it beyond Earth orbit to a point where perhaps the MPCV could service it? This reminds me a when they used to goldplate unmanned probes -- so big and expensive you could only launch one a decade.

I am also doubtful that the HLV will ever be approved and launched.

Tykeanaut
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posted 08-14-2011 03:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was only made aware of this possible cancellation while watching The Sky at Night on the BBC.

Surely they will not cancel this project?

Cozmosis22
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posted 08-14-2011 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After the success of the HST, the next logical step for a space telescopes bank would be to locate them on the far side of the moon. In my opinion, anything else is just a huge waste of time and money.

Tykeanaut
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posted 08-14-2011 04:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But surely most of the money for this project has already been spent. And when is anyone going back to the moon?

star61
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posted 08-14-2011 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For optical and IR astronomy the far side of the Moon is irrelevant. For radio yes, but JWST is okay at a Lagrange point.

I think it will go ahead though. Far to much has been invested and I suspect it is posturing, which will end in some kind of bargaining. Sad state of affairs for sure.

Put $50 billion into NASA and I am sure more return would result than chucking it down the bankers black hole.

Philip
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posted 08-24-2011 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Petition: DO NOT cancel funding for the James Webb Space Telescope

Fra Mauro
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posted 08-24-2011 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In light of budget cuts, should this program continue, in light of all the things NASA would like to do?

Philip
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posted 09-15-2011 06:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great news! Space News reports that a U.S. Senate panel has proposed giving NASA's James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) about $150 million more for 2012 than the White House requested for the overbudget project, which appropriators in the House of Representatives voted this summer to cancel.
The additional funding for JWST amounts to a 40 percent increase for the project and is part of a 2012 spending bill approved Sept. 14 by the Senate Appropriations commerce, justice, science subcommittee. Overall, the subcommittee’s bill would provide NASA with a total of $17.9 billion for 2012. That is about $500 million less than the agency got for 2011 and $800 million less than what U.S. President Barack Obama sought for NASA in the 2012 budget request he sent Congress in February.

The Webb telescope, which was marked for cancellation in the $16.8 billion NASA spending bill the House Appropriations Committee approved in July, would receive $530 million next year under the Senate’s bill — about 40 percent more than the $374 million the Obama administration included for the project in its 2012 request.

The Senate subcommittee, by a margin of 15 to 1, voted to send its spending bill to the full committee after a markup that lasted only about 20 minutes. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to take up the bill Sept. 15.

arjuna
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posted 09-15-2011 06:38 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd qualify that as "potentially good news". Under the Senate budget (which still has to go through the House), NASA as a whole would get $17.9 billion, which is $500 million less than it received in 2011. From Nature's News Blog:
American Astronomical Society Executive Officer Kevin Marvel, who is obligated to support astronomers in heliophysics and planetary science, isn’t yet sure if this is a good thing. "It’s obviously a hopeful sign," he says. "But we need to understand what the extra addition means. We’re concerned about offsets to other divisions."

issman1
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posted 09-16-2011 05:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm pleased funding for JWST was restored but surprised funding for commercial crew development (CCDev) was reduced.

In light of the 44 Progress failure - and continued NASA as well as CSA, ESA and JAXA reliance upon Roscosmos for ISS crew rotation - perhaps Mr. Bolden should be prudent by prioritizing CCDev 3? This would shorten the domestic gap and end foreign dependency.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-18-2011 08:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reports that the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill Sept. 15 that would cut NASA's budget by 2.5 percent while boosting spending on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and tying the release of commercial crew money to the start of work on the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket.
Overall NASA’s budget would drop to $17.9 billion — a $510 million reduction — if the Senate version of the 2012 Commerce Justice Science Appropriations bill becomes law.

While that is roughly $1 billion more than NASA would get under the House version adopted in July, it would leave the agency with its smallest budget since 2009...

NASA’s other science programs were largely spared in the Senate’s hunt for more money for JWST, which stands to get $530 million next year, or about 40 percent more than NASA budgeted. But the agency’s nascent Space Technology program was not so lucky, losing nearly $400 million from its $1 billion request.

NASA’s human space exploration budget would remain essentially flat for 2012, with $1.8 billion carved out for the heavy-lift Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and $1.2 billion designated for its companion Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The bill would cap total spending on SLS and Orion at $17 billion through 2017, the year NASA plans to conduct the launch system’s first unmanned test flight.

NASA’s Commercial Crew program, which is fostering development of private space taxis for the international space station, would be funded next year at the $500 million level Congress approved in the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. While about $300 million of that amount would be available right away, the balance would be withheld until NASA shows that it is making good on its Sept. 14 promise to get to work on SLS.

The article notes however, that neither the House nor Senate have scheduled a floor vote on their respective NASA spending bills. The 2011 fiscal year ends Sept. 30, leaving little time to complete work on the 2012 budgets.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-02-2011 10:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Senate passed H.R. 2112 yesterday (Nov. 1), approving a $17.9 billion 2012 budget for NASA, including funding to launch the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2018. The budget represents a $509 million or 2.8 percent reduction from the 2011 enacted level.

Space News reports that the decreased budget and full funding for JWST will delay other NASA science missions.

NASA science missions slated to launch several years from now, however, will not be so lucky.

"The impacts being assessed in Science would delay some future missions, which are currently planned for launch beyond 2015."

Fra Mauro
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posted 11-03-2011 12:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fra Mauro   Click Here to Email Fra Mauro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Even though it could and might be worse eventually, the budget isn't good for exploration.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 11-15-2011 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Space News reports that NASA stands to receive $17.8 billion for 2012 under a $1 trillion compromise spending measure House and Senate budget negotiators released Nov. 14.
The NASA funding, which is $684 million below the agency's 2011 level and $924 million less than the White House requested, is part of a must-pass spending package Congress is poised to adopt by Nov. 18.

The package, a so-called minibus combining three previously separate spending bills into one, was hammered out during a legislative conference committee House and Senate appropriators convened Nov. 3. Lawmakers included in the minibus a clean four-week extension of the so-called continuing resolution that has kept the federal government operating since the new budget year began Oct. 1. Congress must pass this legislation by Nov. 18 to prevent a government shutdown.

According to a summary of the final conference report posted Nov. 14 on the House Appropriations Committee's website, the $17.8 billion for NASA would break down as follows:

  • $3.8 billion for Space Exploration, which is $30 million below the 2011 level. This includes funding above NASA's request to meet congressionally mandated deadlines for the Space Launch System heavy-lift rocket and Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle.

  • $4.2 billion for Space Operations, which is $1.3 billion below the 2011 level.

  • $5.1 billion for Science programs, or about $155 million above the 2011 level. This includes additional funding for the overbudget James Webb Space Telescope program that will be offset by "commensurate reductions in other programs.

DChudwin
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posted 11-15-2011 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Importantly, there was a significant cut in NASA's request for Commercial Crew Development — the fastest way to get Americans back in orbit in U.S. spacecraft:
NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which is fostering development of astronaut taxis for the international space station, stands to get $406 million in 2012, less than half of the $850 million the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama requested for the program this year, and $94 million less than Congress authorized.

Moreover, $100 million of the appropriated funds from commercial spaceflight would be withheld "pending the completion of specified acquisitions milestones in the human exploration program."

The conference report did not say what milestones these were. The text of the compromise bill itself had not been publicly released as of Nov. 15."

328KF
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posted 11-17-2011 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, it would appear that Congress has shifted back toward the SLS/ Orion exploration path with it's latest budget agreement. Among the highlights of the deal:
Conferee Budget: $17.8 billion
  • Administration Request: $18.7 billion
  • Senate Plan: $17.9 billion
  • House Plan: $16.8 billion
EXPLORATION
Total: $3.77 billion
  • Orion MPCV: $1.2 billion
  • Space Launch System: $1.86 billion
  • Commercial Crew: $406 million
  • Exploration R&D: $304.8 million
Provisions
  • $100 million of commercial crew funding “shall only be available after the NASA Administrator certifies to the Committees on Appropriations, in writing, that NASA has published the required notifications of NASA contract actions implementing the acquisition strategy for the heavy lift launch vehicle system identified in section 302 of Public Law 111-267 and has begun to execute relevant contract actions in support of development of the heavy lift launch vehicle system.
SCIENCE
Total: $ 5 .09 billion

Provisions

  • The formulation and development costs for the James Webb Space Telescope shall not exceed $8 billion

  • $10 million for a reimbursable agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE) for the purpose of re-establishing facilities to produce fuel required for radioisotope thermoelectric generators to enable future planetary missions
My only commentary on this is that it is truly unfortunate that the previous actions of the NASA Administrator obviously led to the provisional funding language on CCDev. Clearly the politicians want to avoid a repeat of the White House defying a policy which is now law.

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