Congressional Budget Gives NASA $19.6 Billion

NASA would receive $19.653 billion for fiscal year 2017 under an Omnibus spending bill released on Monday by Congressional appropriators, an increase of more than $600 million requested by the Obama Administration. NASA received just under $19.3 billion in FY 2016.

The bill was released seven months into the 2017 fiscal year. The government has been operating on continuing resolutions since the year began last Oct. 1.

The budget highlights include:

  • $4.3 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), Orion spacecraft and related programs, an increase of $300 million over FY 2016;
  • $2.15 billion for SLS and $1.35 billion for Orion, both increases over FY 2016 and the Obama Administration’s requests;
  • $300 million set aside for Exploration Upper Stage development under the SLS budget;
  • up to $1.18 billion for the Commercial Crew Program, the same amount requested;
  • $4.95 billion for Space Operations including the International Space Station, a slight reduction from the nearly $5.1 billion request;
  • $5.76 billion for Science, an increase of $175.5 million over the $5.6 billion requested;
  • $1.9 billion for Earth Science, the same amount as in as FY 2016 and a modest reduction of $110 million from the $2 billion requested;
  • $275 million for the Europa mission, with a requirement it be launched on the SLS;
  • $686.5 million for Technology, the same level as FY 2016 but a reduction of $140.2 million below the $826.7 million requested;
  • $130 million under the Technology budget for RESTORE-L, a mission focused on satellite servicing;
  • $100 million for Education, the same as requested and $15 million below FY 2016;
  • $660 million for Aeronautics, an increase of $20 million over FY 2016 but $130.4 million under the request.

Congressional appropriators rejected the Trump Administration’s proposal to close NASA’s education office in favor of programs spread across the agency. The $100 education budget continues three programs: Space Grant ($40 million), the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Technology ($18 million), and the Minority University Research and Education Project ($32 million).

The spending measure keeps in place “a prohibition on NASA and the Office of Science and Technology Policy engaging in bilateral activities with China unless authorized or certified via procedures established in the bill,” according to a Congressional summary.

“NASA is also provided $109 million in emergency funding to repair NASA facilities damaged by recent hurricanes and tornados,[sic]” the summary states. “This is in addition to $75 million provided in December 2016 for hurricane-related repairs.”

During the past year, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida suffered damage from a hurricane and the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans was struck by a tornado.

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