Senate Budget Proposal Includes $726M for Ares I
On April 21, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, unveiled the Senate's version of the 2011 budget with an added $726 million for continued testing of the Ares I rocket. If appropriated, NASA's budget would be increased to $19.7 billion from $19 billion in the president's FY2011 budget request. Senator Conrad described the move to his Senate colleagues as "absolutely essential, for the national security, that this go forward."
On April 22, the Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee held a hearing on the FY 2011 NASA Budget that included witnesses:
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
- Gen. Charles Bolden, NASA Administrator
- John Frost, Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
Key Senators raised questions about the administration's proposed changes for NASA. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee, asked questions concerning astronaut safety, mission details, atrophy of the industrial base, and better resource awareness. Her concerns were echoed by many of the other Senators in attendance. The hearing failed to answer many of her questions, and Sen. Mikulski said, "I need to know more." However, she also said she was encouraged by the budget, which extended the International Space Station and increased funding for space science missions.
Pictured: Ares I rocket