SPECIAL UPDATE: The President's FY2007 NASA Budget Request
This update was originally sent out as an e-mail message to AGI's
The administration is requesting a total of $16.6 billion for NASAs
FY2007 budget, an overall increase of 3.2% from FY2006. In keeping
with the Presidents "Vision for Space Exploration,"
the biggest boost goes to the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate,
which will receive an increase of $928 million in order to develop
the Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle by 2014. In NASA's
budget document they state NASA is confident this budget provides
sufficient funds to support the operational availability of these
systems by no later than 2014. However, it is NASAs goal to
have these critical vehicles available to the Nation as soon as possible
after the Space Shuttle completes it mission to assemble the International
Space Station in 2010. This budget also supports industry initiatives
to supply commercial services to low Earth orbit. This increase
is compensated by a large decrease in Space Shuttle funding (about
$720 million would be cut from FY 2006 appropriations) as well as
cuts in aeronautics research and education programs.
The request for the Science Mission Directorate shows a slight increase
to $5.33 billion, up 1.5% from the FY2006 enacted level. NASA Administrator
Mike Griffin noted that NASAs budget for space and Earth
Science has seen significant budget increases for over a decade, far
surpassing any growth in NASA's top-line budgets during those years.
For FY 2007-11, we cannot afford such growth for science within the
context of a top-line budget that is growing at essentially the rate
of inflation. Thus, NASA's science budget will grow by 1.5 percent
in FY 2007 and 1 percent thereafter between 2008 and 2011.
Of the $5.33 billion requested for the Science Mission Directorate,
$2.2 billion is devoted to the Earth-Sun System, which houses the
agencys Earth science programs. The biggest change is a $137.8
million (84%) increase to the Earth Systematic Missions program. This
increase reflects in large part the Landsat Data Continuity Missions
transition into from formulation to development beginning in March
2007, which is accompanied by a $71 million funding increase. An additional
increase of $38.4 million is requested for the National Polar Orbiting
Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) Preparatory Project due to
a two-year delay in its launch date from October 2006 to April 2008.
Launch dates have also been delayed for the Ocean Surface Topography
Mission (from April 2008 to June 2008) and the Global Precipitation
Mission (from June 2010 to December 2012).
The largest cuts in the Earth-Sun System budget request are in the
Applied Sciences and Explorer programs. Although the Explorer budget
is nearly halved by a $56.5 million (43%) cut, most of the decrease
reflects a transition from development to operations for both the
Aeronomy of Ice in Mesophere (AIM) and Time History of Events and
Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) missions. The remainder
of the Explorer request would provide $40.2 million for the Interstellar
Boundary Explorer, a new program that will map the boundary of the
Funding requests for other programs within the Earth-Sun System show
relatively minor changes from FY2006. Living with a Star, which studies
the effects of the Suns variation on the Earth, would lose $12.9
million (5%). Earth-Sun Research, focused on climate prediction, weather,
and natural hazards, would decrease by $3.7 million (0.4%). The Earth
System Science Pathfinder program would gain $19.6 million (14%).
The increased funding would provide mission operations funds for CloudSat
and CALIPSO (both launching in 2006 after a one-year delay) as well
as development funding for the Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Aquarius.
Finally, the request includes a minor increase of $0.6 million (2.6%)
for education and outreach with the Earth-Sun System program.
Additional information is available at http://www.agiweb.org/gap/legis109/appropsfy2007_nasa.html.
Alert prepared by Jenny Fisher, AGI/AAPG Spring 2006 Intern
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 28, 2006