Trump Budget Blue Print Doubles Down on SLS & Orion


  • Slight cut in top-line budget of $19.1 billion
  • Increase in SLS & Orion funding
  • Pledges increased public-private partnerships without specifics
  • No mention of commercial crew program
  • No mention of space technology budget
  • RESTORE-L satellite serving project “restructured”
  • Asteroid Redirect Mission canceled
  • NASA Office of Education eliminated
  • Four Earth science missions — PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR Earth-Viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder — eliminated
  • Funding for Earth science research grants reduced
  • Europe Clipper orbiter funded but not lander

Trump Administration Budget Blueprint

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is responsible for increasing understanding of the universe and our place in it, advancing America’s world-leading aerospace technology, inspiring the Nation, and opening the space frontier. The Budget increases cooperation with industry through the use of public-private partnerships, focuses the Nation’s efforts on deep space exploration rather than Earth-centric research, and develops technologies that would help achieve US. space goals and benefit the economy.

The President’s 2018 Budget requests $19.1 billion for NASA, a 0.8 percent decrease from the 2017 annualized CR level, with targeted increases consistent with the President’s priorities.

The President’s 2018 Budget:

Supports and expands public-private partnerships as the foundation of future U.S. civilian space efforts. The Budget creates new opportunities for collaboration with industry on space station operations, supports public-private partnerships for deep-space habitation and exploration systems, funds data buys from companies operating small satellite constellations, and supports work with industry to develop and commercialize new space technologies.

Paves the way for eventual over-land commercial supersonic flights and safer, more efficient air travel with a strong program of aeronautics research. The Budget provides $624 million for aeronautics research and development.

Reinvigorates robotic exploration of the Solar System by providing $1.9 billion for the Planetary Science program, including funding for a mission to repeatedly fly by Jupiter’s icy ocean moon Europa and a Mars rover that would launch in 2020. To preserve the balance of science portfolio and maintain flexibility to conduct missions that were determined to be more important by the science community, the Budget provides no funding for a multi-billion-dollar mission to land on Europa. The Budget also supports initiatives that use smaller, less expensive satellites to advance science in a cost-effective manner.

Provides $3.7 billion for continued development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and associated ground system, to send American astronauts on deep-space missions. To accommodate increasing development costs, the Budget cancels the multii-billion-dollar Asteroid Redirect Mission. NASA will investigate approaches for reducing the costs of exploration missions to enable a more expansive exploration program.

Provides $1.8 billion for a focused, balanced Earth science portfolio that supports the priorities of the science and applications communities, a savings of $102 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. The Budget terminates four Earth science missions (PACE, OCO-3, DSCOVR Earth-Viewing instruments, and CLARREO Pathfinder) and reduces funding for Earth science research grants.

Eliminates the $115 million Office of Education, resulting in a more focused education effort through 5 Science Mission Directorate. The Office of Education has experienced significant challenges in implementing a NASA-wide education strategy and is performing functions that are duplicative of other parts of the agency.

Restructures a duplicative robotic satellite refueling demonstration mission to reduce its cost and better position it to support a nascent commercial satellite servicing industry, resulting in a savings of $88 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.

Strengthens cybersecurity capabilities, safeguarding critical systems and data.

  • Joe Denison

    I don’t think there was an increase in SLS/Orion/EGS funding. The President’s budget requests $3.7 Billion for those programs, which is basically the same as the FY 2016 appropriations.

    I never like seeing NASA’s budget cut but at least it wasn’t cut as much as many feared.

  • mlc449

    Socialized space, big government boondoggle while private enterprise takes a back seat. And this from the GOP folks.

  • ReSpaceAge

    the Alabama Texas mafia has been trying to kill “commercial “New space” for years nothing new here. Mostly republicans.

  • I think it’s remarkable how UNremarkable this budget is. They nixed a few small earth science efforts – which is unremarkable considering the republican platform. They left both SLS and commercial efforts in place – they obviously don’t want to rock the boat. NASA education has had tug-of-war for years with the programs having independent outreach budgets – they could never figure it out so they finally are getting canned. Finally, they killed ARM – which both pleases congress and pokes Obama in the eye – not surprising either.

    No grand plans, no great cuts, no new direction, the large constituencies are placated with their programs intact.

  • Kapitalist

    “$115 million Office of Education”
    Wow! I didn’t know that NASA schooling was such a huge industry! Very good to get rid of that propaganda department. NASA’s propaganda department destroys much more than what they consume directly, they protect corrupt bureaucrats and advocates extremely wasteful missions to nowhere. They contribute to the existence of the absurd $43 billion SLS/Orion which comes to the price of 1,000 Falcon 9 launches (one thousand!)

    If NASA does education, why doesn’t the department for education do space flight?

  • Kapitalist

    Precisely my impression too. And I’m relieved! this could’ve been worse. NASA is left on autopilot until a director has been appointed. NASA benefits from politicians not being interested in what they do. If any politician claims to know what NASA is doing, they can put forward a Nobel prize winner who convincingly explains that he does not.

  • windbourne

    not just Alabama Texas, but include Colorado as well.

  • windbourne

    Hopefully, they will add more funding later this year for putting up 2 full size private habitats to the ISS.
    They can outfit these and then get NASA to check them off, and ideally, agree to fly say 2 astronauts on each for several years.

  • Tom Billings

    And Illinois (New home of Boeing) and Utah (home of the ATK plant making the solids for SLS). Florida’s backing for SLS may become shaky as the launch rates for Falcon 9s, Falcon Heavies, and New Glenn vehicles ramps up. They won’t employ nearly as many people in Florida, though, as the ground crew for SLS would, so don’t count on the Florida delegation deserting the SLS ship till its over.

  • windbourne

    yeah, forgot about Utah and their reps. Those ppl have joined with Garnder and Coffman on trying to destroy new private space.
    However, I have not seen Ill join that. Did I miss that?

    And when it comes to the SLS, BOTH PARTIES HAVE CONTINUED TO BACK THAT NIGHTMARE. IOW, both GOP and Dems are responsible for pushing that.

    Oddly, it is has only been the GOP that have worked to kill new space, esp. SpaceX.

  • Tom Billings

    Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has placed himself in Scoop Jackson’s old position as the “Senator from Boeing” since they moved their HQ to Chicago. Boeing has big SLS contracts.

    As for hurting SpaceX, it is a matter of which districts benefit from NASA Centers that build and fly launchers. Since big government progressives chased most southern Democrats into the Republican Party between 1975 and 2005, the Republicans end up with the most votes to undercut non-cost+ contractors who don’t want to launch at KSC, or build rockets in Huntsville, or capsules in Houston, or test engines in Mississippi.

    Richard Shelby was a Democrat till 1995, and there is no different behavioral pattern in him before and after his move to the Republicans. Ditto for the rest of the LBJian politicians with NASA Centers in their States. LBJians are as determined to use NASA money in their political campaigns as LBJ was, whatever party they cling to today. Once the SpaceX spending at the Brownsville launch site picks up, we may see more of a split between Statewide Texas pols like Senator Cruz and the Representative from JSC, Lamar Smith, but that will take a while.