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Senate Appropriations Approves Budget Boost for NASA, Cut for NOAA

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
June 14, 2018
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WASHINGTON, DC – June 14, 2018 (Senate Appropriations Committee PR) — The Senate Committee on Appropriations today approved the FY2019 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act with funding for programs that support law enforcement, economic prosperity, scientific research, space exploration, and other national priorities….

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – $21.3 billion for NASA, $587 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $1.43 billion above the budget request, to support the human and robotic exploration of space, to fund science missions that enhance the understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe, and to support fundamental aeronautics research.

Using the same account funding structure as in previous years, this includes:

  • $5.3 billion for Exploration, $549 million above the FY2018 enacted level, to advance NASA’s human exploration program through providing $2.15 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), $1.35 billion for the Orion crewed spacecraft to continue development of NASA’s next deep-space crewed capsule, and $504 million to begin development of the Lunar Orbital Platform.
  • $6.4 billion for Science, $179 million above the FY2018 enacted amount and $505 million above the request, including $1.9 billion for Earth science, $2.2 billion for Planetary science, $1.5 billion for astrophysics (including $304 million for the Webb telescope), and $720 million for Heliophysics.
  • $725 million for Aeronautics, which is $40 million above the FY2018 enacted level and $91 million above the request.  The bill supports the ongoing work on aeronautics x-vehicles, advanced research into aeronautics materials and materials characterization, and further research on unmanned aerial systems and unmanned traffic management.
  • $110 million is provided for the NASA’s education programs, which were proposed to be eliminated in the budget request, under a newly named Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Opportunities activity.  Within STEM Opportunities, Space Grant is funded at $44 million, NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) is funded at $21 million, the Minority University Research and Education Project is funded at $33 million, and STEM Education and Accountability projects is funded at $12 million.
  • $933 million is provided for Space Technology, $173 million above the FY2018 enacted level.  Funding is included to advance projects in early stages of development that are expected to eventually demonstrate capabilities needed for future space exploration.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – $5.48 billion for NOAA, a $426 million decrease below the FY2018 enacted level, to continue core NOAA operations including: ocean monitoring; fisheries management; coastal grants to states; aquaculture research; weather satellites; and severe weather forecasting.

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