Status Report

NASA’s Fiscal Year 2022 Discretionary Request

By SpaceRef Editor
April 9, 2021
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) inspires the Nation by sending astronauts and robotic missions to explore the solar system, advancing understanding of the Earth and space, and developing new technologies and approaches to improve aviation and space activities. The 2022 discretionary request invests in developing new technologies to improve the Nation’s space and sustainable aviation capabilities; human and robotic exploration of the Moon, Mars, and Beyond, including returning Martian rocks and soil to earth; and development of Earth-observing satellites that would produce breakthrough science and support the Nation’s efforts to address climate change.

The President’s 2022 discretionary request includes $24.7 billion for NASA, a $1.5 billion or 6.3-percent increase from the 2021 enacted level. It:

Supports Human Exploration of the Moon, Mars, and Beyond. The discretionary request provides $6.9 billion, an increase of $325 million above the 2021 enacted level, for the Artemis program, a series of crewed exploration missions to the lunar surface and beyond. This funding supports the development of capabilities for sustainable, long duration human exploration beyond Earth, and eventually to Mars.

Furthers the Robotic Exploration of the Solar System and the Universe. Following the successful landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars, the discretionary request funds the Mars Sample Return mission, the first mission to transport Martian soil samples back to Earth. The discretionary request also supports the Clipper mission to explore Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, the Dragonfly mission to fly a drone-like rotorcraft on Saturn’s largest moon Titan, and the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope to build on the discoveries of the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes.

Enhances Research and Development at NASA. The discretionary request increases funding for NASA’s Space Technology research and development portfolio to $1.4 billion, a $325 million increase above the 2021 enacted level. With this investment, the program would enhance the capabilities and reduce the costs of the full range of NASA missions and provide new technologies to help the commercial space industry grow. In addition, the discretionary request encourages novel early-stage space technology research that would support the development of clean energy. The discretionary request also provides $915 million, an increase of $86 million above the 2021 enacted level, for Aeronautics research and development that would enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global aviation industry that employs hundreds of thousands of Americans. This increased funding would broaden and accelerate the testing of technologies that would enable highly efficient, next generation airliners.

Advances Climate Science. NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to enhance understanding of Earth systems and to observe the effects of climate change. The discretionary request provides $2.3 billion for Earth Science programs, an increase of $250 million above the 2021 enacted level, to initiate the next generation of Earth observing satellites to study pressing climate science questions.

Builds a Diverse Future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Workforce. The discretionary request provides a $20 million, or 16 percent, increase for the Office of STEM Engagement to expand initiatives to attract and retain underserved and underrepresented students in engineering and other STEM fields, in partnership with minority serving institutions and other higher education institutions.

Continues Research on the International Space Station (ISS). The discretionary request provides more than $3 billion to operate the ISS and use it as a research laboratory in space. ISS funding would support space station operations, cargo and crew transportation, and research that benefits the exploration of space and life on Earth.

SpaceRef staff editor.