NASA’s attempt to use innovative acquisition practices to speed up development of the lunar Gateway has left the first two elements of the station over budget and behind schedule, according to a new audit from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General.
It is also unlikely the human-tended Gateway will be capable of supporting the planned 2024 mission to land American astronauts at the south pole of the moon, the audit concluded.
The House Appropriations Committee has criticized the Trump Administration’s “ominous shift away” from legacy NASA programs in favor of a “politically motivated timeline” aimed at returning astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024 under the Artemis program.
“NASA’s fiscal year 2021 request, much like the 2020 amended budget request, reflected the Administration’s ominous shift away from legacy programs and programs with clear environmental and educational benefits,” the committee in a report on its funding bill.
SpaceNewsreports that House Appropriators have included no money for the Trump Administration’s Space Force in a bill it is scheduled to mark up on Tuesday. Legislators are also seeking more information about the Space Development Agency.
The draft report accompanying the committee’s proposed fiscal year 2020 defense spending bill notes that the decision to not back the $72 million request should not be read as a complete rejection of the idea of establishing a Space Force.
“The Committee recommendation does not fully fund the request to establish the proposed Space Force,” says the draft report obtained by SpaceNews. “The Committee makes this decision without prejudice and includes funds for the Department to examine and refine alternative organizational options that will streamline the management and decision-making process and minimize overhead cost and bureaucracy.”
Defense officials have said they estimate the Space Force will cost no more than $2 billion over five years but have not provided detailed analysis to back that up, according to congressional officials. The Senate Armed Services Committee has done due diligence and directed the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the future costs of the Space Force, U.S. Space Command and the Space Development Agency. The CBO in a report laid out a number of scenarios. On the Space Force, it projects costs significantly higher than $2 billion over five years. The Pentagon has challenged those estimates.
On the Space Development Agency, the committee backs defense appropriators’ recommendations to seek more specific details on the SDA’s space projects. “While the Committee is generally supportive of the concept of the Space Development Agency, the Committee is concerned that this effort may create a parallel space program that will overlap and duplicate existing programs and missions in the Air Force.”
WASHINGTON (House Appropriations Committee PR) — The House Appropriations Committee today released the draft fiscal year 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies funding bill, which will be considered in subcommittee on Friday, May 17. The bill funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other related agencies.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – NASA is funded at $22.32 billion, $815 million above the 2019 enacted level. This funding includes:
$7.16 billion for NASA Science programs – $255.6 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level.
$123 million for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement, $13 million above fiscal year 2019 and rejecting the Administration’s request to eliminate funding for these programs, which help inspire and train the country’s future STEM workforce.
$5.1 billion for Exploration – $79.1 million above the fiscal year 2019 enacted level. This includes funding to continue the development of the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System, and related ground systems.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – The legislation contains $5.48 billion for NOAA, which is $54.28 million above the fiscal year 2019 level and more than $1 million above the Administration’s request. Funding will help address important priorities such as climate research, improvements in weather forecasting, the reduction of harmful algal blooms, and fisheries management.
Editor’s Note: The measure does not seem to take into account the supplemental request made earlier this week for NASA.
Working on a freelance project right now, so I don’t have time to go through the bill. For anyone who has time to take a look at the text of the House markup (link above), here are some resources for comparison purposes:
NASA has received a $21.5 billion budget for fiscal year 2019, which is $736.86 million above FY 2018 and $1.6 billion above the total requested by the Trump Administration.
The funding, which came more than four months into the fiscal year, was included in an appropriations bill signed by President Donald Trump on Friday. NASA’s budget has been on an upward trajectory over the last few years. In FY 2018, the space agency received an $1.64 billion increase over the previous year.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic applauds Chairman John Culberson (R-TX), Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY) and the entire House Commerce-Justice-Science (CJS) Appropriations Subcommittee for their strong support for NASA and its efforts to return America to the surface of the Moon in the FY 2019 CJS Appropriations bill. The bill, which provides a record $21.5 billion for NASA, was released yesterday evening and will be marked up by the Subcommittee at 5 pm today.
The omnibus spending bill passed last week continues to restrict cooperation by NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with the China.
“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used…to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement, or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese owned company unless such activities are specifically authorized by a law enacted after the date of enactment of this Act,” the law states.
NASA is further restricted from hosting official Chinese visitors at any of its facilities.
The law includes an exception that allows meetings to take place if NASA or OSTP can certify, in consultation with the FBI, that the activities
(1) pose no risk of resulting in the transfer of technology, data, or other information with national security or economic security implications to China or a Chinese-owned company; and
(2) will not involve knowing interactions with officials who have been determined by the United States to have direct involvement with violations of human rights.
The certification must be submitted to the House Appropriations Committee with details about the meeting at least 30 days before it takes place.
The Senate Appropriations Committee has rejected a proposal by the Trump Administration for a significant funding in a key NOAA weather satellite program.
Senate appropriators have provided $419 million for the Polar Follow-on (PFO) program for fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). The program is aimed on developing two Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) spacecraft to follow two already funded JPSS satellites. The JPSS-1 satellite is scheduled for launch later this year.
Ignoring the Trump’s Administration’s fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018) budget request, the House Appropriations Committee has voted to boost NASA’ spending to $19.88 billion, including significant increases to the space agency’s Exploration and Planetary Science programs.
The appropriations bill is an increase of $779.8 million over Trump’s requested budget of $19.09 billion. It would increase NASA’s budget by $218.5 million over the $19.65 billion the space agency is receiving in FY 2017.
NASA’s Exploration program, which includes the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion spacecraft, would be boosted by $226 million to $4.55 billion under the House measure. The administration had requested $3.93 billion, a cut of $390 million under current spending.
Ignoring the Trump Administration, House appropriators have recommended a budget boost for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST).
A House bill would provide FAA AST with $21.587 million for FY 2018. The funding would represent an increase of just under $1.8 million over the $19.8 million the office received for the current fiscal year.
The Trump Administration had proposed cutting the FAA AST budget down to $17.9 million, just $100,000 above the FY 2016 funding level.
FAA AST officials have said they need more money for staff to handle an increase in the number of applications for experimental permits and launch licenses. Inspections also have increased as a result of more commercial space activity.
Vice President Mike Pence’s speech at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center last week was long on rhetoric and short on details, but a few themes and priorities have already emerged in the Trump Administration’s slowly evolving approach to the nation’s civilian space program.
NASA Will Lead Again
In a speech in which he repeatedly praised President Donald Trump, Pence used some variation of the word “lead” a total of 33 times (“leadership” 18 times, “leader(s)” eight times, “lead” six times and “leading” once). (more…)
The House Appropriations Committee has ignored President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts in NASA’s budget and has instead approved a bill that would boost the space agency’s budget.
The spending measure would fund the agency at $19.9 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018, which officials said was a $219 million increase over the enacted level for FY 2017. Trump has proposed cutting NASA’s budget to just over $19 billion.
Appropriators provided a $226 million boost to the space agency’s exploration budget, which funds the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew spacecraft. They also boosted the budget for NASA’s science programs by $94 million.
NASA’s Education Office, which Trump has proposed shutting down, would receive $90 million.
The House Appropriations Committee is marking up a FY 2017 spending bill today that would boost NASA’s spending by $215 million to $19.5 billion dollars. The amount is roughly $500 million more than the $19 billion requested by the Obama Administration.
Appropriators have zeroed out money for NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), instead instructing the space agency to focus on lumar missions applicable to sending astronauts to Mars.
UPDATE: The commmitttee approved an amendment bringing the budget up to $19.826, which is what the Administration requested.
The House Appropriations Committee has recommended $18.826 million for the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation (FAA AST) for FY 2017, which is $1 million below the Obama Administration’s budget request.
The amount is $1 million above the enacted level for FY 2016.
“The recommended funding level will allow the Office of Commercial Space Transportation to add operational personnel to support an increased level of activity in its licensing, permitting and safety inspection functions,” the committee said in draft bill to be marked up on Tuesday.
The House Appropriations Committee has released a spending bill that would give NASA a budget of $19.5 billion for fiscal year 2017, which is $500 million above President Barack Obama’s request. The measure boosts spending for exploration and science programs. Details from the measure are below:
Exploration: $4.183 billion
Orion: $1.35 billion
Space Launch System: $2 billion
Exploration Upper Stage: $250 million of SLS funding
Exploration Ground Systems: $429 million
Exploration R&D: $404 million
Science: $5.597 billion
James Webb Space Telescope: $8 billion cost cap
Jupiter Europa orbiter and lander: $260 million
Use of the Space Launch System as the launch vehicle or vehicles for the Jupiter Europa mission plan
launch of the Jupiter Eruopa orbiter launch no later than 2022 and a lander launch no later than 2024.
Space Operations: $4.89 billion Space Technology: $739.2 million Aeronautics: $712 million Education: $115 million Safety, Security & Mission Services: $2.835 billion Construction & Environmental Compliance and Restoration: $398 million Office of Inspector General: $38.1 million