NASA Requests $18.5 Billion for FY 2016

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The Obama Administration is requesting $18.5 billion for Fiscal Year 2015, which is roughly half a billion dollars more than its current budget.

The commercial crew program would receive $1.24 billion, which NASA officials say is necessary to keep the program on schedule for crew transportation to the International Space Station in 2017. The amount is more than $400 million above current spending.

The Administration appears to have once again underfunded the Space Launch System and Orion programs, providing $2.86 billion. The two programs have received more than $3 billion in each of the past two years.

Science is well funded at $5.29 billion, a slight increase from FY 2015. Space Technology would receive $724.8 million, an increase from the $596 million being spent this year.

NASA BUDGET REQUEST FOR FY 2016
PROGRAMFY 2014 OP PLAN*
FY 2015 ENACTED**
FY 2016
Science$5,148.2$5,244.7$5,288.6
Earth Science
$1,824.9$1,947.3
Planetary Sciences$1,345.7$1,361.2
Astrophysics$678.3$709.1
James Webb Space Telescope
$658.2$620.0
Heliophysics$641.0$651.0
Space Exploration$4,113.2$4,356.7$4,505.9
Exploration Systems Development
$3,115.2$3,245.3$2,862.9
Commercial Spaceflight$696.0$805.0$1,243.8
Research & Development$302.0$306.4$399.2
Space Operations$3,774.0$3,827.8
$4,003.7
International Space Station
$2,964.1$3,105.6
Space and Flight Support
$809.9$898.1
Space Technology$576.0$596.0
$724.8
Aeronautics$566.0$651.0
$571.4
Education$116.6$119.0
$88.9
Safety, Security and Mission Services $2,793.0$2,758.9
$2,843.1
Center Management & Operations$2,041.5$2,075.2
Agency Management & Operations$751.5$767.9
Construction & Environmental Compliance & Restoration$522.0$419.1
$465.3
Construction of Facilities$455.9$374.8
Environmental Compliance & Restoration$66.1$90.5
Inspector General$37.5$37.0
$37.4
TOTALS:$17,646.5$18,010.2$18,529.1

*FY 2014 reflects funding amounts specified in the June 2014 Operating Plan per P.L. 113-76.

**FY 2015 reflects only funding amounts specified in P.L. 113-235, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015.

  • windbourne

    Lol. Keep in mind that the admin is budgeting nothing. The house GOP will push to gut private space where it concerns spacex.
    The question is, what the senate will do?

  • windbourne

    Personally, I want to see NASA budget set up for new nuke engines. Now is the time to do this with dems out of control

  • Hug Doug

    i doubt that reviving NERVA would happen regardless of who’s in control of Congress. the NIMBY force is strong in regards to nuclear issues.

  • windbourne

    plenty of places for us to develop it. And while I would give this ZERO chance with dems in control, the GOP do not care.

  • Valerij Gilinskij

    Yes, the main question – “What decides the Senate.”

    It seems to me that now is the most promising solution – close SLS and Orion as useless and too expensive program, and release the money to start new programs by type of COTS, primarily on the creation of commercial infrastructure (including fuel depot) in orbit.

  • Kapitalist

    Nuclear thermal engines need a much larger space program to be useful. It’s uneconomical to put one of them on a tiny planetary probe once a year. Nuclear electric engines might be an alternative to RTG, though.

  • Matt

    New, more much powerful RTG’s would be good start point. However, is there enough Plutonium available? The RTG’s would alloy new kind of missions to the outer solar system, into interstellar space and as well as to Venus surface, where it can be used to to power a double stage Stirling cooling device to cool down the probe for a long period of time.

  • Aerospike

    As far as I know, the world is pretty much out of 238Pu fuel for RTGs (http://www.nature.com/news/nuclear-power-desperately-seeking-plutonium-1.16411?WT.mc_id=FBK_NatureNews#/powertrip ), but 241Am might be an alternative (especially for longe lived probes).

    However, what Probes for the outer solar system desperately need is more electrical energy (for electrical propulsion) and RTGs aren’t really good at providing it (most of their energy is heat). Just imagine New Horizons with propulsion capabilities on par with Dawn… instead of a flyby it could actually enter orbit around Pluto, study it for a while and then move on to another Kuiper Belt target!

    I agree with Kapitalist (a very rare case) that what the space programs (not only in the US) need are new, nuclear electric generators as a power source for electrical propulsion in the outer solar system.

  • windbourne

    That is exactly what I suggested starting more than 4 years ago.

  • windbourne

    Why do you think that one works, but not the other?

    And the idea of doing it with some probes is to prove lifetime and get a small line going.

  • Geobram

    I think that would be the best idea they’d have in years. But do you see GOP do anything remotely like that?

  • Hug Doug

    the DoE restarted production of Plutonium about a year and a half ago, so we are gradually working on creating a new stockpile of it. how much they can make per year and how much they will make overall is still uncertain, as far as i know.

    http://news.discovery.com/space/nasa-plutonium-production-space-fuel-130314.htm

  • Hug Doug

    heh, there’s plenty of places to store nuclear waste, too. take a good look at the conversation on that…

    as I said, the NIMBY force is very strong for things like this, for either side of the aisle. saying one side or the other cares or doesn’t care is simply not true in this case.

  • Hug Doug

    or Democrats, for that matter.

  • Aerospike

    This is covered in the article I linked to as well.
    quote: “The goal is for the DOE to produce 1.5 kilograms of plutonium dioxide a
    year by 2021, which translates to about 1.1 kilograms a year of 238Pu.

    No word though on how achievable those goals are.

    Anyway, the article states that this supply will be good for about 2 science missions per decade. If you want to do more and/or use RTGs for human missions, this isn’t enough.

  • Matt

    Yes, the nuclear heat source is not alone sufficient for our purposes. We need also a mucher better conversion method (heat to electricity). One option is the use of another Stirling type engine (as in investigation at NASA), driven by the heat plutonium heat sources), which delivers higher conversion efficiency.

  • Hug Doug

    ah, yes. i didn’t see that your article was more recently published than the one i found. and you’re right, who knows if they are hitting their production goals or not. two deep space science missions per decade could be great, depending on how wisely the plutonium is used. I shall keep my fingers crossed for a Neptune orbiter / Triton lander!

  • windbourne

    Oddly, there are some republicans left in the GOP. And they love such a thing.
    BUT, there is not enough of them.
    And at this point, I have to wonder if it is not just faster to have the SLS be developed so that we have a secondary SHLV to the BFR.
    Keep in mind that for us to go to the moon and mars, we must have redundant systems.

  • windbourne

    Oh, the dems are just fine with doing a COTS thing.
    However, do not do it by cutting into ANY of their programs or anything that gets money into their districts.
    IOW, they will not help kill SLS to put in place a COTS-SHLVs.

  • Matt

    What means “commercial” if it depends also from Government funding as well as the so called old space?

  • Hug Doug

    which amounts to the same thing. my point is, this isn’t a partisan problem.

  • Valerij Gilinskij

    Matt, you live in America, where in the nineteenth century was to build the First Transcontinental Railroad? Thanks to this scheme and was mastered the United States. Why you do not like that the main objective of NASA – the development of the US economy?

    But economic efficiency of different courses of action can be compared. In the United States in the nineteenth century, built the First Transcontinental Railroad. A little later in the Russian Trans-Siberian railway was built. Both roads still exist. But in the United States approximately similarly constructed many more roads, and mastered the entire country. And in Russia, the Bolsheviks seized power that you like. In Russia, the road to build the state. And we still do not have a highway between European countries and the Far East. The only big railway, built in the Soviet Union, called BAM. And where is the city that should grow along this road?

    State stimulation of growth of the economy – a normal thing. We, and you, for this tax to pay. But you have a country develops, and we destroyed – and this is just visible to the naked eye. And thou shalt say to me that it does not correspond to the plans of Karl Marx? Well, let him revolves in his grave!

  • Matt

    Valerij, thank you for your comment. In my view it is better to keep the government out of business far as possible, many of Governmental investments showed often bad results (not only for paying tax payers, but also for user of the investment).
    One of the worst measures in the collection of governmental stimulation methods to grow economy is governmental money printing, which is in my view a criminal act of the state against savers and money holders.

  • Vladislaw

    The U.S. Federal Government has historically funded start ups in new technologies. It also acts as an incubator and then shovels the new technology into the private sector so the government can by it COTS, commercial off the shelf.
    Can anyone buy a seat on the Orion?
    Can anyone buy a seat on the CST-100, Dragon V2.0?
    What makes it commercial is who are customers, who can buy the product in the end.

  • Matt

    Thank you for explanation. Let us hope that there will individuals person or private companies which can afford one or more seats in CST-100 or Dragon V2.0. That would be just fine.

  • Valerij Gilinskij

    First of all, Matt, do not be confused – this is not the government’s investment, this subsidy – a method of stimulating the market economy with a view to its development in a predetermined direction. These subsidies temporarily make more profitable investment business in certain projects or technology.

    During Secondly, this way to stimulate the economy long time ago proved and its usefulness, and efficiency, about what I wrote in the previous comments. And third, “printing money”, increasing the money supply – the need for a developing economy. Marxists did not understand – in their teaching is no concept of “intellectual property.” But Intellectual property is the foundation of the modern, post-industrial economy.

  • Valerij Gilinskij

    Matt, why India or Brazil to develop your bike? And your spaceship, these countries should develop, or having access to commercial orbit, will conduct their research and possibly build its own space station?

  • Vladislaw

    Bigelow Aerospace is going to charge 25 million for 1/3 of a BA330 module for a 2 month lease or 150 million a year. Bigelow is going to charge 26.25 million for a ride to their station and two months food/water/o2 and 3 million per additional month. that would be 72.5 million to keep two people in space each person staying a six month tour.

    So for 230 million a year any 2nd or 3rd tier country can have a FULL UP manned space program based in LEO beaming down pictures of THEIR astronauts to THEIR schools. 50 or 60 countries could easily afford this and they would not have to jump through any of NASA’s hoops like at the ISS.