The White House releases the first draft of its budget proposal for the fiscal year 2022. The draft includes an increase in the funding of NASA, in particular to the Earth science and space technology programs. The budget document is 58 pages long which outlines the Biden administration discretionary spending priorities.
For NASA, the White House proposes an overall budget of approximately $24.7 billion in the fiscal year 2022 which is an increase of around 6.3% from the previous year. The value received for the last fiscal year 2021 valued at $23.271 billion.
Steve Jurczyk (NASA Acting Administrator) mentions the following in a statement regarding the budget. “The $24.7 billion funding request is a demonstration that the Biden Administration is committed to NASA and its partners who have worked with efforts last year in difficult circumstances and achieve extraordinary success.”
A complete breakdown of NASA’s spending across its various programs is not mentioned in the document, however, it does highlight an increase in budgets in several sectors. NASA’s Earth science program receives $2 billion in 2021 which increases to $2.3 billion in 2022 – a total of 15% increase. As per the document, the funds consume to start the next generation of Earth-observing satellites in order to study persistent environment science questions.
In 2021, NASA’s space technology program receives $1.1 billion whereas, the same will increase by 27% in 2022 which amounts to $1.4 billion in 2022. The funding enhances the capabilities and reduces the costs of the full range of NASA missions. This is done in order to provide new technologies to help the commercial space industry grow. According to the document, it also includes support for what the White House calls, “The novel early-stage space technology research which supports the development of clean energy.”
The human exploration program by NASA receives $6.9 billion in the fiscal year 2022. The spend is about a 5% increase from the $6.56 billion in 2021. However, there is no information about the spending on programs like the Space Launch System and Orion and HLS. However, it mentions supporting the Artemis program. In addition to this is the development of capabilities for sustainable human exploration beyond Earth and also Mars.
The diffident increase recommends that the administration has no plans to incline the expenditure on the HLS program. The original intention when the Trump administration set a goal is to return humans to the lunar surface by 2024. The proposal also does not mention funding for smaller space-related offices. These offices are namely, the Office of Space Commerce or the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office. These offices are under the Commerce Department and Commercial Space Transportation, respectively.
The document does have mention that the administration offers funding to support improvements to manage the national airspace system. In addition to inclusion to integrate space launches into it. The National Science Foundation receives a $10.2 billion budget which is a 20% increase from the previous year’s budget – 2021. It would also include the funds to continue work on the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile. However, the document makes no mention of the number of funds allocated for it along with other astrophysics research.