SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY2009 NASA Budget Request
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
member societies. More details about NSF's budget for fiscal
year 2009 are available from AGI's appropriation
page for NASA.
On February 4, 2008, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA), Deputy Director Shana Dale presented the President's fiscal
year (FY) 2009 request at $17.6 billion. The request represents a
1.8% increase above FY08 enacted levels and according to Dale "demonstrates
the President's commitment to funding the balance of priorities he
set forth for the agency in space exploration, Earth and space science,
In the FY08 Appropriations Omnibus, Congress instructed NASA to restructure
its accounting system and rather than allocating funding across three
accounts (Science, Aeronautics, and Exploration; Exploration Capabilities;
and Inspector General), funds are dispersed among seven
accounts (Space Operations, Exploration Systems, Science, Aeronautics,
Education, Cross Agency Support, and Inspector General).
The Science Mission Directorate, which includes Earth Science, Planetary
Science, Astrophysics and Heliophysics, would receive $4.4 billion
in the FY09 proposal, a decline of 6% or $265 million compared to
FY08 enacted levels. The Aeronautics directorate would fall by 13%
or $65 million, totaling $447 million, and the Education account would
decrease by 21% or $31 million for a total of $116 million. The increases
in NASA's proposed budget boost the Exploration and Space Operations
accounts by 11% and 5% for a total of $3.5 billion and $5.8 billion,
The Earth Science and Planetary Science programs within the Science
Directorate are slated to get a boost in the FY09 budget to $1.37
billion and $1.33 billion, respectively, representing an increase
of 7% in for both programs when compared to FY08 levels. The Astrophysics
and Heliophysics programs would decline to $1.16 billion and $577
million, a 13% and 31% drop, respectively.
Deputy Director Dale emphasized NASA's receipt of the Decadal Survey
for Earth Science, last year and the input the science community had
on the formation of the missions within the Science Directorate. Dale
stated that NASA's "budget runout (FY09-FY13) provides $910 million
for the development of two Decadal Survey priorities, the SMAP Mission
for soil moisture mapping and a second-generation ICEsat Mission,
as well as formulation and early development work on three additional
Decadal Survey missions." Decadal Survey Missions would receive
$103.2 million in FY09, this is a 68% increase compared to FY08 enacted
Other projects of interest within the Earth Science program include
the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission that would increase
by $51.4 million in FY09 to $125.8 million, the Landstat Data Continuity
Mission that would increase slightly to $139.4 million in FY09 compared
to $133 million in FY08, the Ocean Surface Topography Mission that
would decrease by $52.5 million for a total of $80 million in FY09,
and the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) that would decline to $25.4
million from $35.6 million.
During NASA's budget presentation Dale discussed the collaboration
of the Science Directorate, specifically the Planetary Science program,
with the Exploration Mission Directorate "to better understand
our Moon," and increased funding in the FY09 budget proposal
for lunar science as well as the development of two small lunar landers.
The Lunar Science Research program would increase by $82 million or
362% above FY08 levels for a program total of $105 million. Deputy
Director Dale also indicated that NASA will focus much of its effort
on Mars missions until after 2013 and a sample return launch by 2020,
this is reflected in proposed budget with a decline of $167 million
or 30% in the Mars Exploration program for a proposed total of $385.6
million in FY09.
For more information on NASA's FY09 budget visit: http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html
Special update prepared by Marcy Gallo, AGI Government Affairs Program
Sources: NASA budget documents and the American Institute of Physics
Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI
Government Affairs Program.
Posted February 13, 2008.