Tuesday, March 4, 2014

NASA Releases FY15 Proposed Budget

Click the arrow to watch “Reaching for New Heights,” NASA's promotional video for its Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget.

NASA released today its Fiscal Year 2015 proposed budget.

Sorry to be cynical but, in the grand scheme of things, it won't matter much.

The members of the House and Senate space subcommittees will tear it apart as they fight over the scraps to direct pork to their districts and states.

It didn't take long for Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), whose district includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to complain about his perceived inadequate funding for Planetary Sciences — which, of course, would operate out of JPL.

Many internal and independent studies have told Congress that they impose too many underfunded or unfunded mandates on NASA, forcing the agency to stretch the limited dollars Congress appropriates.

But that didn't stop the House space subcommittee from discussing on February 27 whether to impose upon NASA planning for a Mars/Venus flyby in 2021.

In today's proposal, NASA requests $848.3 million for the commercial crew program, an increase of about $152 million over the FY14 enacted $696 million. In a bit of fortuitous timing for this week's political tensions with Russia, the proposal states that the budget “regains American leadership and reduces our dependence on Russian spaceflight capabilities for crew transportation.”

Good luck with that.

Congress cut NASA's commercial crew funding by 62% from the Obama administration's request during Fiscal Years 2011-2013, and cut it 15% for the current fiscal year.

As in past years, members of Congress will try to shift commercial crew funding to their pet project, the Space Launch System, which still has no missions or destinations. This budget requests $2.78 billion for SLS and the Orion crew capsule.

Click here to listen to today's budget teleconference.

Click here to review the slides that accompany the teleconference.

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