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NASA Excerpts: FY2017 Commerce, Justice & Science Appropriations Bill Clears Senate Subcommittee

Press Release From: Senate Appropriations Committee
Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies today approved a $56.3 billion spending bill to support national security, law enforcement and American scientific innovation.

Subcommittee action advances the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act toward full committee consideration on Thursday. The bill is $563 million above the FY2016 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the budget request.

The Senate bill funds important programs within the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. It will support federal law enforcement agencies, state and local law enforcement grants, space exploration, basic science research, economic development programs, trade enforcement, and ocean observations and weather forecasting.

"Within prudent budgetary boundaries, this bill achieves a careful balance between the competing priorities of law enforcement, national security, economic development, scientific research, and space exploration," said U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Subcommittee. "Senator Mikulski and I once again worked together to create a bill that reflects our strong bipartisan relationship, and I look forward to its consideration by the full Appropriations Committee and the Senate."

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Science

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) $19.3 billion for NASA, $21 million over the FY2016 enacted level and $1 billion above the FY2017 NASA budget request, to support the human and robotic exploration of space, fund science missions that enhance the understanding of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe, and support fundamental aeronautics research. This includes:

$2.15 billion for the Space Launch System (SLS), which is $150 million above the FY2016 enacted level and $920 million above the request. The SLS is the nation's launch vehicle that will enable humans to explore space beyond current capabilities. The funding maintains the current schedule for the first launch of SLS, and provides $300 million in critical funding for upper stage engine work for future crewed missions in 2021 and beyond.

$1.3 billion for the Orion crewed spacecraft, $30 million above the FY2016 enacted level and $247 million above the request, to enable a crewed launch in 2021. Orion is the NASA-crewed vehicle being designed to take astronauts to destinations farther than ever before, including Mars.

$5.4 billion for Science, $194 million below the FY2016 enacted level and $92.5 million above the request. This funding encompasses missions from the Earth to the Moon, throughout the solar system, and the far reaches of the universe.

$1.18 billion, the same as the request, to further develop a domestic crew launch capability. Once developed and fully tested, these vehicles will help end the United States' reliance on Russia for transporting American astronauts to and from the International Space Station.

$687 million for Space Technology, the same as the FY2016 enacted level and $4.1 million below the request. Funding is included to advance projects that are early in development that will eventually demonstrate capabilities needed for future space exploration.

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