Trump Eyes Half Billion Dollar Cut in NASA’s Budget

President Donald Trump would cut $561 million from NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2018 under a spending plan set for release next week, according to a leaked budget document.

NASA would see its budget reduced from $19.6 billion this year to just below $19.1 billion. The space agency received just under $19.3 billion in fiscal year 2016.

The total budget is close to the $19.1 billion contained in a budget blueprint the Trump Administration released in March. The blue print provided guidance for the formal budget proposal to be released next week.

The Third Way policy think tank published a leaked spreadsheet dated May 8  that details the president’s proposed budget. The figures for NASA included top-level spending amounts by category without going into individual programs such as Orion and Commercial Crew.

The table below shows that reductions are spread across the agency, with three exceptions.

FY 2018 PBR
Space Operations (ISS, Commercial Crew) $4.95 billion$4.74 billion-$210 million
Exploration (SLS, Orion, Ground Systems)$4.324 billion$3.934 billion-$390 million
Science $5.765 billion $5.712 billion -$53 million
Space Technology $686.5 million$678.6 million-$6.9 million
Aeronautics $660 million$624 million -$36 million
Education $100 million $37.3 million-$62.7 million
Safety, Security & Mission Assurance $2.769 billion$2.830 billion+61 million
 Construction and Environmental Compliance and Restoration$360.7 million
$496.1 million +$136.4
Office of Inspector General $37.9 million$39.3 million+1.6 million
 TOTALS: $19.653 billion $19.092 billion-$561 million

Exploration, which funds Orion, Space Launch System and related ground systems — would see a reduction of $390 million, which is unlikely to please Congress. There would be a $210 million cut in Space Operations, which funds the International Space Station and Commercial Crew programs.

NASA’s Education budget would be cut by $100 million to $37.3 million, a reduction of $62.7 million. Science, Space Technology and Aeronautics would experience more modest reductions.

The space agency would received an additional $136.4 million in its construction and environmental remediation and compliance budget. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida suffered damage from a hurricane. Its Michoud facility in New Orleans was hit by a hurricane.

The Safety, Security and Mission Assurance budget — which pays for operations — would see a $61 million increase. NASA’s Office of Inspector General would see its budget rise by $1.6 million.



  • JamesG

    We’ll see how much of this survives contact with Congress.

  • DJN

    about the same as not emptying the ashtrays on the SLS

  • windbourne

    Where will these cuts go?
    If for more tax cuts for his friends, or to simply plow into dhs to chase individual illegals around, then screw it.
    Otoh, if used to balance the budget AND will make cuts all around, then go for it.

    Will be interesting to see where money goes for ccxdev, along with adding 1-2 habitats on iss, or a station around the moon.

  • therealdmt

    Not again with the cutting the commercial crew crap, please.

    Do we want to get back into space, or what?

  • Robert G. Oler

    make America great again 🙁

  • Arthur Hamilton

    It’s just the first step in the budget negotiation process or back and forth bone throwing.

  • Paul_Scutts

    … by landing upon Mars. 🙂

  • Robert G. Oler

    I dont know how that does it…

  • Jeff2Space

    Tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, of course. What else did you expect?

  • Vladislaw

    SLS took a hit .. about time.

  • Paul_Scutts

    Thanks for your reply, Bob. Whilst my comment was mostly facetious, in reality, by setting a bold goal of landing astronauts upon the surface of Mars by the end of the second decade, would provide, IMO, a huge boost to the the US economy. The provisos would be; 1) that most, if not all, of the money would be spent internal to the US economy and spread around the entire country, 2) the launch vehicles would have to be of the Falcon/New Glen type, 3) Martian descent/ascent vehicles would be re-usable etc.. It would be a bold move with positive flow-on effects with the whole US economy. IMO, like during Apollo, it would be money well spent. Regards, Paul.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Paul those “footnotes” would in my view make it worth considering…but in large measure I suspect that they would never happen because 1) the “stakeholders” wont buy in if they are not paid and 2) in my view the goal is something that cost to much for the American public to support.

    not only are the lessons of Apollo ringing in my ears but also that of shuttle and station and now SLS/Orion

    My own view is that we need “more smaller” goals…that are accomplishable for about the money that SLS/Orion consume a year…and which entice the stakeholders into…for example what I would propose is a fairly hefty increase to the space station and changing the goal of the station to technology demonstration…so here we get a dedicated microgravity platform, some refueling demonstrations etc.