House Measure Would Boost NASA Budget to $21.5 Billion

The House Appropriations Committee has released a draft bill that would increase NASA’s budget to $21.5 billion for fiscal year 2019. The total would be an increase of $810 million above the enacted amount for FY 2018 and $1.6 billion more than the Trump Administration requested.

NASA would spend $5.1 billion on deep space exploration, an increase of $294 million. The total includes $504 million for the Lunar Orbital Platform — Gateway.

Science would also be boosted by $459 million to $6.7 billion. The total includes $740 million for a Europa orbiter and lander.

Complete details on the proposed budget are still lacking. Below is what the committee has released thus far.

NASA Budget
$21.5 billion — $810 million above FY 2018 level

Deep Space Exploration
$5.1 billion — $294 million above FY 2018 level

  • Space Launch System (SLS): $2.15 billion
    • $300 million for Exploration Upper Stage R&D
  • Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle: $1.35 billion
  • Exploration Ground Systems: $545 million
  • Advanced Exploration Systems: $1.04 billion
    • $504 million for Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway
    • $116.5 million for advanced lunar and surface capabilities

Legislation requires Administrator Jim Bridenstine to submit “a multi-year plan to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate that identifies estimated dates, by fiscal year, for Space Launch System flights to build the Lunar Orbital Platform; the commencement of partnerships with commercial entities for additional LEO missions to land humans and rovers on the Moon; and conducting additional scientific activities on the Moon.

“The multi-year plan shall include key milestones to be met by fiscal year to achieve goals for each of the lunar programs described in the previous sentence and funding required by fiscal year to achieve such milestones.”

Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Spaceflight Operations
$4.6 billion — $151.5 million below FY 2018 level

  • $150 million for commercial LEO development.

Science
$6.7 billion — $459 million above FY 2018 level

  • Jupiter Europa Orbiter: $545 million
  • Jupiter Europa Lander: $195 million
  • James Webb Space Telescope cost capped at $8 billion

NASA must use Space Launch System for Europa missions. Europa orbiter must launch no later than 2022, with the lander following in 2024.

NASA has already notified Congress the budget is likely to exceed this amount.

Exploration Research & Development
$900 million — $605 million above FY 2018 level

Aeronautics
$715 million — $30 million above FY 2018 level

Education:
$90 million — $10 million below FY 2018 level

Safety, Security & Mission Support
$2.85 billion — $23.1 million above FY 2018 level

Construction and Environmental Compliance and Remediation
$562.24 million — Same as FY 2018 level

Office of Inspector General
$39.3 million — $300,000 above FY 2018 level