by Launchspace Staff Writers
Bethesda MD (SPX) Mar 29, 2016
Last month, the President submitted his final budget requests to Congress for Fiscal Year 2017. The unclassified space-related funding requests that impact U.S. space activities in exploration, commerce and national security are addressed here. The principal agencies that are affected are NASA, FAA and DOD.
The total budget request for NASA is $19 Billion. Of this total $790 million have been allocated for NASA's aeronautics division, representing a 23% increase from the current fiscal year. This increase will support a 10-year plan to accelerate the development of several experimental X-planes.
Meanwhile, under this request, space exploration will receive $3.3 billion, space-related science is offered $5.6 billion, space operations will receive $5.1 billion, space technology will get $827 million, the Space Launch System will receive $1.31 billion and the Orion crew vehicle will get $1.12 billion.
The budget request for the FAA's commercial space transportation-related activities is $19.8 billion. This represents an increase of $2 million over the current fiscal year appropriation. The increase will help support launch and reentry integration as well as an increased demand in license and permit determinations, certifications, and other required authorizations.
The President has also requested $3 million for the FAA's research, engineering and development activities in support of the integration of commercial space operations into the National Air Space system.
The total budget request for the Department of Defense is $583 Billion. This represents significant growth in research and development investments in new technologies such as precision-guided munitions, stealth technologies and cyber activities. More specifically for space, this budget includes over $22 billion for the protection of U.S. national security space assets and infrastructure.
Finally, the U.S. Air Force plans to make a significant investment over the next five years in order to develop a new launch system that does not rely on the Russian-built RD-180 engine, currently used by the Atlas V.
Of course, Congress has yet to review and approve these requests. However, given that this is an election year, it is likely that no formal FY17 budget will be approved by October 1, 2016. Congress will probably use a Continuing Resolution to at least initially fund these activities.
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