Status Report

AIP FYI#19: Exploration Funding Up in NASA FY06 Budget Request

By SpaceRef Editor
February 11, 2005
Filed under ,

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News
Number 19: February 11, 2005

Exploration Funding Up in NASA FY06 Budget Request

“The Vision for Space Exploration remains an Administration priority
even in this challenging budget environment.” – NASA Administrator
Sean O’Keefe

NASA’s budget for exploration would grow substantially, while its
science funding would drop slightly, in the FY 2006 budget request
released by the White House on Monday. The total NASA budget would
climb 2.4 percent, from $16.070 billion in FY 2005 to $16.456
billion. Funding would be provided to develop a robotic mission to
deorbit the Hubble Space Telescope, but no funds are proposed for a
servicing mission.

“The budget maintains resolute focus on exploration priorities and
critical milestones, based on our science priorities,” outgoing NASA
Administrator O’Keefe said in his statement on the budget.
Regarding NASA’s science programs, O’Keefe indicated that while the
science budget would decline for FY 2006, it is expected to grow in
future years: “The [request] for the Science Mission Directorate
builds on our recent scientific successes and projects a 23 percent
increase in the total science budget by 2010.” To the extent that
across-year comparisons can be made, the FY 2006 request for NASA
science programs is also lower than the FY 2004 funding level.

According to agency budget documents, in order to focus on the
exploration initiative, NASA has again reorganized its corporate
structure by streamlining and changing its programs. It has now
established four Mission Directorates: Science, Exploration Systems,
Space Operations, and Aeronautics. This makes funding comparisons
between FY 2006 and previous years difficult. For the comparisons
below, the numbers used are taken from the FY 2006 request and
NASA’s FY 2005 “Initial Operating Plan,” which provides FY 2005
funding in the context of the new Directorates.

Further details on NASA’s budget request are available at: . Most of the
information and quotes below are from the NASA FY 2006 Budget
Request Summary.

SCIENCE: Down 0.9%, or $50.9 million, from $5527.2 million to
$5476.3 million.

Solar System Exploration – up 2.3% to $1900.5 million.

The Universe – down 0.1% to $1512.2 million.

Earth-Sun System – down 4.3% to $2063.6 million.

According to NASA budget documents, “The newly organized Science
Mission Directorate (SMD)…seeks to understand the origins,
evolution, and destiny of the universe and to understand the nature
of the strange phenomena that shape it. SMD also seeks to
understand: the nature of life in the universe and what kinds of
life may exist beyond Earth; the solar system, both scientifically
and in preparation for human exploration; and the Sun and Earth,
changes in the Earth-Sun system, and the consequences of the
Earth-Sun relationship for life on Earth.”

Hubble Space Telescope: Within the Science Mission Directorate,
funding for the Hubble Space Telescope would be reduced from $215.7
million in FY 2005 to $190.7 million in the request. Funding would
be provided to develop a robotic means for deorbiting the Hubble at
the end of its useful life, but no money is slated for a servicing
mission to extend its scientific life.

EXPLORATION SYSTEMS: Up 17.9%, or $480.9 million, from $2684.5
million to $3165.4 million.

Constellation Systems – up 113.0% to $1120.1 million.

Exploration Systems Res. & Tech. – up 27.2% to $919.2 million.

Prometheus Nuclear Systems & Tech. – down 26.0% to $319.6 million.

Human Systems Res. & Tech. – down 19.7% to $806.5 million.

NASA budget documents state: “The role of the Exploration Systems
Mission Directorate (ESMD) is to develop a constellation of new
capabilities, supporting technologies, and foundational research
that enables sustained and affordable human and robotic
exploration. The research and technology development activities of
the former Exploration Systems Enterprise and former Biological and
Physical Research Enterprise have been merged into ESMD. In this
way, ESMD can integrate fully the broad engineering systems
infrastructure requirements and the critical human system
requirements necessary for human exploration of the solar system to
ensure safety, sustainability, and exploration crew effectiveness.”

SPACE OPERATIONS: Up 0.9%, or $58.6 million, from $6704.4 million to
$6763.0 million.

International Space Station – up 10.8% to $1856.7 million.
Space Shuttle – down 0.3% to $4530.6 million.
Space & Flight Support – down 22.6% to $375.6 million.

The budget documents state that “Space Operations Mission
Directorate (SOMD) programs ensure that NASA’s human and robotic
explorers have reliable, safe, and affordable access to space while
creating new exploration and research opportunities through the
extension of human presence in space. The SOMD enables NASA to
achieve its goals by providing: transportation systems like the
Space Shuttle, operational research facilities in space like the
International Space Station (ISS); and space communications systems
and its supporting infrastructure. The SOMD also provides the
unique human system necessary to open the space frontier as broadly
as possible.”

AERONAUTICS: Down 6.0%, or $53.9 million, from $906.2 million to
$852.3 million.

According to NASA budget documents, this directorate “supports
NASA’s mission to understand and protect Earth by playing a key role
in the technology developments needed to resolve the challenges
faced by the aeronautics community and create a safer, more secure,
environmentally friendly, and efficient national aviation system.”

EDUCATION PROGRAMS: Down 23.0%, or $49.8 million, from $216.7
million to $166.9 million.

The budget documents state that NASA’s Education Programs “will
provide unique teaching and learning experiences through the
Agency’s research and flight missions. Students and educators will
work with NASA and university scientists using real data to study
Earth, explore Mars, and conduct scientific investigations…. And,
NASA Education programs will increase support to the Nation’s
universities providing challenging research and internship
opportunities for qualified students.”

In remarks on the FY 2006 request, House Science Committee Chairman
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) commented, “As for NASA, the budget appears
to be reasonable and balanced overall.” Regarding the Hubble,
Boehlert said, “I would love to save the Hubble, but the decision
needs to be made in the context of the overall NASA budget….
Congress will have to make a decision about Hubble very soon –
probably no later than the end of March – if a servicing mission of
any kind is to have a realistic chance of moving forward.”

Audrey T. Leath

Media and Government Relations Division

The American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

SpaceRef staff editor.