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Space Watch

NASA Budget Notes

Hearings Reveal Outlook

At a recent Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee hearing on Priorities, Plans and Progress of the Nation's Space Program, senators noted that while NASA's budget was essentially flat from what it received in FY 2012, it was still better than most other government agencies had fared in the President's FY 2013 budget request. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden outlined NASA's three major priorities in the President's budget request for NASA:

  • Fund commercial crew development in order to launch astronauts to the International Space Station by 2017
  • Develop the Space Launch System (SLS) and Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Orion for deep space exploration
  • Fund the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) for a 2018 launch.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium, outlined the great economic and innovative benefits that accrue from a nation that embarks on an exciting human spaceflight program, and recommended Congress increase NASA's budget above the funds requested.

To view an archived webcast of the hearing, click here

The House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies held a hearing held in March on the NASA FY 2013 Budget Request. Bolden said NASA had to make tough decisions in its FY 2013 budget request and, in part, that led to NASA's decision not to pursue the 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). Several members asserted that NASA's budget ignored language in Public Law 112-55 that directs NASA to pursue a flagship planetary science mission, such as ExoMars.

At the House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing on an overview of NASA's FY 2013 Budget Request, members expressed several concerns to administrator Bolden over funding priorities, including commercial crew development, SLS & Orion and future planetary science missions.

To read more details on this hearing, click here

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