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NASA Gets $1bn More But Less Than What It Wanted

The HAC has approved an additional fund to NASA but still is inadequate for funding programs listed in NASA budget amendment recently.

The CJS Bill allows NASA $22.32bn for the financial year 2020. This is $1.3bn more than the original proposal and $820mn more than last year’s receipt.

However, a request for an additional $1.6bn wasn’t approved, which would have allowed accelerated development of Orion and SLS and to initiate producing lunar landers in 2020, in accordance with a recent budget amendment.

NASA will now receive $5.13bn a rise of around $100mn over its original request. Ground systems, Orion and SLS will receive an additional $193mn, $373mn and $159mn. However, exploration R&D received a $618mn cut.

 The agency’s science programs will receive additional funding of over $850mn for a total budget of $7.16bn. Earth science programs are likely to benefit the most from it.

Space technology and STEM Engagement programs saw a rise of $277mn and infusion of $123mn respectively, despite budget requests to remove the latter.

House appropriators released a statement that scientific research and climate change programs received robust funding. The NOAA and NSF also received additional funding via this bill.

However, House members have expressed some reservations. Rep. Johnson and Rep. Horn stated that the absence of vital details prevented them from approving the increase.

The moon landing proposals would also be under skepticism until more information was provided to Congress, Johnson stated. Technical details and cost of 2024 moon landing project were sought by her.

The procurement of increased NASA funding at the expense of Pell Grant initiative also drew flak. Horn stated that the WH’s decision would lower the count of engineers and scientists necessary for the moon program.

Industry organizations were far more approving of the move. CDSE and CSF approved the move and appealed to Congress and the WH to develop a comprehensive plan and budget together.

AIA supported the move but criticized the Pell Grant funding cuts. Eric Fanning, the President of AIA mentioned that sustained and substantial funding hikes would be needed in the next 5 years for this initiative.

Gilbert Heist
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