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NASA Deep Space Exploration Budget Request Fact Sheet

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
May 31, 2021
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Artist concept of the SpaceX Starship on the surface of the Moon. (Credits: SpaceX)

FY 2022 Budget Request
Deep Space Exploration Systems
($ Millions)

The FY 2022 Budget for the Deep Space Exploration Systems account consists of two areas, Exploration Systems Development (ESD) and Exploration Research and Development (ERD), which provide for the development of systems and capabilities needed for the human exploration of the Moon and Mars.

Exploration Systems Development (ESD)

  • ESD programs work together to build many of the key space transportation systems that will enable the Agency’s Artemis Program to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon and extend human presence into the solar system. The systems include the Orion crew vehicle, Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicle, and Exploration Ground Systems (EGS). The first uncrewed launch of the SLS and Orion will occur no earlier than (NET) November 2021 and the first crewed launch date is NET September 2023.
  • The Orion program will finalize assembling and testing the first crewed vehicle and deliver thesystem to EGS at KSC. The program will start installing, assembling, and testing the second crewedvehicle and continue hardware production for the third.
  • The SLS launch vehicle production and certification for flight will continue at Michoud Assembly Facility and Marshall Space Flight Center along with engine and core stage testing at Stennis Space Center. Key launch vehicle components will be delivered to EGS at Kennedy Space Center for integration into the final flight launch vehicle with the Orion crew vehicle. The Budget provides funding for development of the Block 1B upgrade to the SLS.
  • EGS will continue to prepare launch infrastructure and operations requirements in support of the SLS and Orion programs. Modifications to existing facility and command and control systems will be ongoing, including continued construction of Mobile Launcher 2 and modifications for the Block 1B launch vehicle
  • NASA will explore approaches for reducing the costs of future exploration missions to enable amore sustainable and scalable exploration program.

Exploration Research and Development (ERD)

  • The overarching goal of ERD is to infuse technologies and research into the development of human exploration capabilities using a combination of unique in-house activities, competed research, and public-private partnerships. ERD is developing and testing prototype systems, as well as planning and developing flight missions to lunar orbit and the Moon; and conducting and enabling human research that will form the basis for future human spaceflight missions. ERD is comprised of five programs: Human Landing System (HLS), Advanced Cislunar Surface Capabilities (ACSC), Gateway, Advanced Exploration Systems (AES), and Human Research Program (HRP).
  • The major initiative in the FY 2022 Budget is the HLS program, which utilizes essential commercial partnerships to develop and jointly deploy the integrated landing system that will transport crew to and from the lunar surface and establish a series of lunar missions that build on that capability. The Budget provides sufficient funding for the HLS program to maintain competition both leading up to and subsequent to the Artemis program’s first crewed Moon landing mission.
  • ACSC leads architecture and mission planning while providing technical direction for Human Exploration and Operations (HEO) missions through the HEO System Engineering and Integration office. The program is also conducting risk reduction studies to develop strategies and identify technologies to feed into lunar sustainability and future Mars efforts.
  • Gateway is a platform that will orbit the Moon and support lunar landers and surface activities. Gateway will eventually consist of a Power and Propulsion Element (PPE), the Habitation and Logistics Outpost (HALO), at least one module contributed by NASA’s international partners, and be supported by logistics services.
  • AES will continue work to identify and address knowledge gaps and deliver fundamental capabilities to provide astronauts a place to live and work with integrated life support systems, radiation protection, food, fire safety, avionics and software, logistics management, and waste management systems.
  • HRP is responsible for understanding and mitigating the highest risks to astronaut health and performance to ensure crews remain healthy and productive during long-duration missions beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO).

FY 2020 reflects funding amounts specified in Public Law 116-93, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, as adjusted in NASA’s FY 2021 Initial Operating Plan, except Exploration Ground System Development and Exploration CoF. Table does not reflect emergency supplemental funding provided for NASA and included in the Safety, Security, and Mission Services account, as specified in Public Law 116-136, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, totaling $60.0 million. FY 2021 reflects funding amounts specified in Public Law 116-260, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, as adjusted by NASA’s FY 2021 Initial Operating Plan.