by Brooks Hays
Merritt Island, Fla. (UPI) Feb 2, 2015
It appears the White House is committed to all of NASA's big ticket projects and long-range goals, as President Obama's newly published budget proposal sets aside some $18.5 billion for the space agency -- a $500 million boost over last year's total.
All of the agency's major efforts, including plans for future missions to deep space and Mars, are featured in the details of the new budget. But NASA isn't getting everything just as they wanted it.
Funding totals for the Space Launch System mega-rocket and the Orion capsule are lower than what officials at the two programs had requested.
And if the budget is passed as it is proposed, the Opportunity rover's mission on Mars would be shut down next year -- as would the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The Commercial Crew Program is one of the programs getting more than last year, as the budget sets aside $1.2 billion for the efforts to see private aerospace companies build spacecrafts that can ferry astronauts back and forth from the International Space Station.
Other programs funded in the budget includes its Asteroid Redirect Mission, a variety of space science initiatives and the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (scheduled for 2018) -- the successor to Hubble.
The budget proposal was announced Monday by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Reporters and agency officials gathered to hear the budget's details and a discussion of the space agency's fiscal health.
Bolden says the agency is fiscally strong and that its programs are headed in a positive direction.
"That the idea we're adrift is an empty hook trying to catch yesterday's fish," Bolden told gatherers, as Space.com reported. "I couldn't be more excited about our future. We're making steady progress and continuing to reach for new heights."
"I can unequivocally say that the state of NASA is strong," Bolden added.
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