Trump Proposes Increased NASA Budget for FY 2019

President Donald Trump signs an executive order reviving the National Space Council. (Credit: The White House)

The Trump Administration released its proposed FY 2019 budget today. So far, I’ve only seen a summary of what the administration has proposed without a detailed numbers for each program.

NASA’s budget would increase to $19.9 billion. The Space Launch System and Orion would be funded at a combined $3.7 billion. Planetary exploration would get a boost in spending while Earth science would experience a cut. The Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope would be canceled. And the Office of Education would be closed.

Direct federal support for the International Space Station would end in 2025, with a new program launched to encourage commercial alternatives NASA could use. The space agency also would undertake a number of programs in collaboration with industry to further robotic and human exploration of the moon.

The proposed budget:

  • provides $19.9 billion in  funding, which about an $400 million increase);
  • includes $10.5 billion to support human space exploration, with a long-term focus on the moon;
  • provides $3.7 billion for the Space Launch System and Orion programs;
  • includes $2.2 billion for Planetary Science;
  • ends direct U.S. Government funding for the International Space Station (ISS) by 2025;
  • provides $150 million for a new program to encourage commercial development of capabilities that NASA can use in place of ISS;
  • focuses on new approaches and industrial partners to support human exploration beyond low Earth orbit;
  • pursues near-term milestones for lunar exploration, such as the commercial launch of a key power and propulsion space tug in 2022;
  • begins a new lunar robotic exploration program that would include contracts for transportation services and the development of small rovers and instruments;
  • create a new Exploration Research and Technology program to enable lower-cost technology and systems needed to sustainably return humans to the Moon and beyond;
  • refocuses and consolidates NASA’s space technology development programs to support space exploration;
  • cancels five Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, RBI, DSCOVR Earthviewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder);
  • cancels Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) program;
  • closes of Office of Education;
  • fully funds new low-boom supersonic aircraft development;
  • boosts spending for hypersonic research;
  • supports in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly; and,
  • transitions away from NASA’s current Government-owned and operated fleet of communications satellites and associated ground stations in favor of greater reliance on commercial communications satellite capabilities.

An excerpt from a White House budget document that covers NASA is below. Some of these figures seem to have been revised with the recent budget deal. For example, the total budget based on what NASA is saying is $19.9 billion instead of $19.6 billion, and funding for SLS & Orion is $10.5 billion.

I’ve also added an addendum that outlines $300 million in additional spending at NASA as a result of the budget deal.

NASA
Proposed FY 2019 Budget

Highlights:

  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for leading an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and bring new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth. As it pioneers the space frontier, NASA supports growth of the Nation’s economy in space, increases understanding of the universe and our place in it, works with industry to improve America’s aerospace technologies, and advances American leadership.
  • The Budget supports the Administration’s new space exploration policy by refocusing existing NASA activities toward exploration, by redirecting funding to innovative new programs that support the new policy, and by providing additional funding to support new public-private initiatives.
  • The Budget requests a total of $19.6 billion for NASA, a $500 million (2.6-percent) increase from the 2018 Budget ($61 million below NASA’s 2017 funding level).
  • The Budget proposes to end direct U.S. Government funding for the space station by 2025 and provides $150 million to begin a program that would encourage commercial development of capabilities that NASA can use in its place.
  • The Budget refocuses and consolidates NASA’s space technology development programs to support space exploration activities.
  • The Budget continues strong programs in science and aeronautics, including a supersonic “X-plane,” planetary defense from hazardous asteroids, and potentially a bold mission to retrieve pieces of Mars for scientific study on Earth.

The President’s 2019 Budget:

The Budget supports an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable the return of humans to the Moon for long-term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations. As it pioneers the space frontier, NASA supports growth of the Nation’s space economy, increases understanding of the universe and America’s place in it, and advances America’s aerospace technology.

The Budget takes concrete actions to once again launch Americans into space from American soil. The Budget partners with industry to land robotic missions on the surface of the Moon in the next few years, paving the way for a return of U.S. astronauts—this time not just to visit, but to lay the foundation for further journeys of exploration and the expansion of the U.S. economy into space. The Budget supports a sustainable space exploration program to be proud of—one that reflects American ingenuity, ambition, and leadership. Specifically, the Budget:

Renews Focus on Human Exploration and Discovery and Expands Commercial Partnerships to Strengthen U.S. Leadership in Space. The Budget provides $10 billion to support human space exploration and to pursue a campaign that would establish U.S. preeminence to, around, and on the Moon. This would be achieved through a renewed focus on new approaches and industrial partners, and by pursuing near-term milestones for lunar exploration, such as the commercial launch of a key power and propulsion space tug in 2022.

A new lunar robotic exploration program would support innovative approaches to achieve human and science exploration goals. This new program would fund contracts for transportation services and the development of small rovers and instruments to meet lunar science and exploration needs. The Budget also supports the creation of a new Exploration Research and Technology program to enable lower-cost technology and systems needed to sustainably return humans to the Moon and beyond.

In addition, the Budget fully funds the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion crew capsule as key elements of the human space exploration program. The Budget provides $3.7 billion for SLS and Orion, which would keep the programs on track for a test launch by 2020 and a first crewed launch around the Moon by 2023.

Provides Cost Savings by Phasing out Government Programs and Replacing them with Commercial or Public-Private Operations. The Budget proposes to end direct U.S. financial support for the International Space Station in 2025, after which NASA would rely on commercial partners for its low Earth orbit research and technology demonstration requirements. A new $150 million program would begin support for commercial partners to encourage development of capabilities that the private sector and NASA can use.

The Budget also proposes a transition away from NASA’s current Government-owned and operated fleet of communications satellites and associated ground stations. Instead, the Budget proposes a greater reliance on commercial communications satellite capabilities. The Budget also proposes canceling, pending an independent review, an overbudget project to upgrade the current NASA-owned system in order to make resources available for these new partnerships.

Continues Robotic Exploration of the Solar System. The Budget provides $2.2 billion to
Planetary Science and maintains support for competed science missions and the next Mars rover,
which would launch in 2020. The Budget also provides $50 million to explore possibilities for retrieving
geologic samples from Mars, which has long been a high priority science goal and a keystone of
future Mars exploration. A $150 million planetary defense program would help protect the Earth
from potentially hazardous asteroids.

Fully Funds an Experimental Supersonic Airplane and Increases Hypersonics Research Funding. The Budget fully funds the Low-Boom Flight Demonstrator, an experimental supersonic (faster than the speed of sound) airplane that would make its first flight in 2021. This “X-plane” would open a new market for U.S. companies to build faster commercial airliners, creating jobs and cutting cross-country flight times in half. The Budget also increases funding for research on flight at speeds more than five times the speed of sound, commonly referred to as hypersonics. Hypersonics research is critical to understanding how crewed and robotic spacecraft can safely enter and exit the atmospheres of planets. Hypersonics also has applications for national defense.

Supports a Focused Earth Science Program. The Budget provides $1.8 billion for a focused, balanced Earth Science portfolio that supports the priorities of the science and applications communities. The Budget maintains the Nation’s 45-year record of space-based land imagery by funding Landsat 9 and a Sustainable Land Imaging program. The Budget maintains the Administration’s previous termination of five Earth Science missions—PACE, OCO-3, RBI, DSCOVR Earthviewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder—to achieve savings.

Terminates a New Space Telescope while Increasing Support for other Astrophysics Priorities. The Budget terminates development of the WFIRST space telescope, which was not executable within its previous budget and would have required a significant funding increase in 2019 and future years. The Budget redirects funding from this mission to competed research including smaller, principal-investigator-led astrophysics missions. These missions have a history of providing high scientific impact while training the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Budget continues to fund the $8.8 billion James Webb Space Telescope, which is expected to launch in 2019 and operate for many years to come.

Redirects Education Funding to Higher Priorities. The Budget continues to support the termination of the $100 million Office of Education, redirecting those funds to NASA’s core mission of exploration. The Science Activation program within the Science Mission Directorate—a focused, science-driven program with clear objectives, evaluation strategies, and strong partnerships—is retained.

Supports the Technology Demonstration of In-Space Robotic Manufacturing and Assembly. The Budget provides $54.2 million for public-private partnerships to demonstrate new technologies used to build large structures in a space environment. Such structures could be key to supporting future exploration and commercial space activities.

NASA
Budget Addendum
Additional Amount: $300 million

The addendum would provide additional resources to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), of which $235 million would augment the Administration’s Exploration
Campaign and $65 million of which would address other agency priorities. Of these amounts:

The addendum would provide an additional $115 million for NASA’s LEO and Spaceflight Operations account. Of this increase, $75 million would accelerate the transition from the communications satellite infrastructure operated by NASA towards greater reliance on commercial services and partnerships. The remaining $40 million would increase funding for the Commercial Cargo program.

In addition, the addendum would provide an additional $90 million to the Exploration Research and Technology account for innovative exploration-related technologies to bolster the new exploration initiative.

The addendum would also provide an additional $30 million to the Science account for planetary science. The additional funds would support lunar science research and technology development of future power systems for solar system exploration.

In addition, the addendum would provide an additional $40 million to the Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation account for facility construction and demolition.

In addition, the addendum would provide an additional $25 million to the Aeronautics account for basic research and partnerships with industry that enhance the competitiveness of the Nation’s airplane manufacturing sector.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    At some point, I don’t know when ( thought it was going to come way way in years past.) government budgets will have to be flat or go negative for a long time. We can’t ‘grow ourselves’ out of the spending pattern we’re in. America’s malfunction now is the dems can’t be creative with government without growing the budget, and the republicans are simply a wrecking crew and don’t believe in creative governance. There is a path to effective and creative government without bloating the budget. Even if we had political figures who could execute that and articulate how it would work to the American people, I’m not so sure they’d be garner a political following in the current environment.

    For instance doing more with static budgets for NASA’s human space flight directorate is simple. Use Space X, Bo, and Boeing hardware, and drop SLS, then use the saved money from SLS to fly more. We can’t do that.

  • 868686

    3,7 billions for SLS is a lot of money!

    This is enough money to buy 24 Falcon Heavy launches! Two launches per month!

    Come on! Drain this swamp!

  • Douglas Messier

    Updated with information from a budget addendum outlining $300 million in additional spending as a result of last week’s budget deal.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Hate to tell you, this admin is not about draining the swamp. It’s about regulation capture by industry, and enabling con-men and carpetbaggers to run amok in established enterprises and cashing them out for what they’re worth and harvesting as much cash as they can get in the process. This infrastructure deal will be all about using public funds to enable half baked corporatization of what was formally public infrastructure so that private interests can in effect collect taxes using the force of the government to keep the public paying. They’ll also use this as a means of trying to operate this infrastructure outside the limitations and control of law as much of the existing law assumes the managing entity is a government. Thus for years these private entities will operate outside adjudicated law and regulation. Meanwhile year after year rates/tolls/etc will be raised to float ever rising stock prices. It’s like healthcare, once you turn a function into something that feeds the stock market, you’re going to get raped and you’ll lose all control of the process.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Falcon Heavy launches are only about $100 million each, so it would fund 37 launches.

  • 868686

    For NASA is about $150 million each due to insurance cost.

  • 868686

    And SLS and Orion development is about what?

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Shuffling money to keep the production base alive in Alabama for the sake of jobs and overhead. It’s a malfunction attributed to the political left executed by the political right. Hypocrisy pays.

  • Kirk

    Alternately, $150M for fully expendable / maximum performance (63.8 MT to LEO) FH per Musk’s tweets earlier today.

  • ThomasLMatula

    What insurance? Private payloads require insurance as while and Elon Musk is quoting them a $90 million dollar price. Now I could see charging NASA $150 million for the paper work they require.

  • ThomasLMatula

    63.8 MT is enough to place a Bigelow Aerospace B2100 in orbit, if SpaceX is able to make the faring wider. That is a instant 16 person space station that puts the ISS to shame.

  • 868686

    My mistake…

    A Falcon Heavy rocket flight sells commercially for around $90 million,
    while a Falcon 9 goes for around $60 million, according to SpaceX’s
    website. But a Falcon Heavy mission for NASA or the U.S. military, which levy additional requirements on their launch providers, is expected to go for $150 million or more.

    Source: https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/02/07/spacex-debuts-worlds-most-powerful-rocket-sends-tesla-toward-the-asteroid-belt/

  • Marlinda

    Watch Acts of Violence Just here it’s all complete : cinemaxmovie3d.blogspot.com

  • ThomasLMatula

    Yes, those additional requirements really do add up 🙂

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    I love acts of violence. So uh … Marlinda … what’s your number? Like sushi?

  • MzUnGu

    7 more years of International Space Swamp(ISS). 😛

  • duheagle

    Except for the minor detail that no B2100 exists except in mockup form and that the Bigelow factory, so far as I know, hasn’t built any tooling to make one.

  • duheagle

    Is that the morning line from Prog Central? We’ve had eight years of “regulatory capture” and extra-Constitutional overreaching by the progressive Left. To the extent the Trump administration is bending the regulators over and shoving a nice dry corncob up their behinds, I’m a fan.

  • duheagle

    Heh.

  • ThomasLMatula

    No tooling exists for the DSG but NASA is preparing to spend billions to design it and billions more on the SLS/Orion to service it. Again the double standard.

    If BA gets a contract for a B2100 they will create the tooling to build it.

  • Spacetech

    Really?

  • windbourne

    and that would be one of the worst ways to build a space station, esp. this early in the games.
    Far better to put up a number of BA330s on multiple stations, and then see how they do.

  • ThomasLMatula

    That will work too. NASA is getting $500 million to just study how to develop a station to put in Lunar Orbit. For $500 million Bigelow could just put a B330 in Lunar Orbit with a Falcon Heavy. After the B330 operates a couple of months (is flight tested…) they could send astronauts to it using the Dragon2 on a Falcon Heavy. If they like it how works they could budget for a second module to be added to it.

    But no, NASA will just burn through that money doing viewgraphs, animations and reports…