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The Planetary Society Calls For Restoration Of Funds For NASA Science In 2008 Budget Request

it's all about science.
by Amir Alexander
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Feb 05, 2007
The Administration today unveiled its budget request for NASA for fiscal year 2008, part of its total proposed budget for the federal government. At $17.3 billion, the Administration's request represents a 3.1% increase over the $16.8 billion requested for NASA for fiscal year 2007.

By far the largest share of the increase goes towards completing the International Space Station with the remaining flights of the space shuttle, and developing the new human spaceflight capability outlined in the Vision for Space Exploration. The 2008 request does not restore the funding cut from NASA science programs, which were slashed in the 2007 budget request.

The Administration submitted its proposal for 2008, even as Congress was still debating the budget for 2007. Last week, the House of Representatives passed a 2007 budget that would keep NASA spending at the 2006 level, $545 million below the Administration's request for 2007.

Adopting the House's resolution, warned NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, "will jeopardize our ability to transition safely and efficiently from the Shuttle to the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle and Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle. It will have serious effects on many people, projects, and programs this year, and for the longer term."

In contrast, according to Griffin, the Administration's 2008 budget request is "a carefully considered, balanced request formulated over many months." In particular, he said, the budget provides adequate funding the goals set out for NASA's in the President's Vision for Space Exploration.

"In the coming years, Griffin said, the greatest challenge for NASA is "safely flying the space shuttle to the space station prior to retiring it in 2010, while bringing new human spaceflight capabilities online soon after."

Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society, was far more skeptical of the 2008 budget request. "The Administration's proposed increase for NASA is welcome, but does not correct last year's devastating cuts to space science" he said, referring to the funds transferred from science programs towards shuttle and space station operations in the 2007 request.

The resulting cuts to NASA science prompted the Planetary Society last year to launch its "Save Our Science" grassroots campaign to restore funding for NASA's enormously successful science programs.

Friedman also pointed out that slashing science funding to pay for shuttle operations and the development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle "continues to violate the 'go-as-you-pay' promise for the Vision for Space Exploration."

This promise implied that the projects associated with the Vision would proceed at the pace that funds become available for them, rather than take away from other NASA programs. "We will work with Congress to both correct the Vision and Save Our Science" said Friedman.

Wesley T. Huntress, the President of The Planetary Society, agreed: "We call on Congress to approve the full request this year and to restore the damage done to space science in last year's budget action," he said.

Related Links
S.O.S. Save Our Science
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Space Shuttle News at Space-Travel.Com
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Space Station News at Space-Travel.Com

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NASA Sets Out Tough Training To Reach For The Stars
Washington (AFP) Feb 06, 2007
Would-be US astronauts have to undergo rigorous training and stringent selection procedures if they want to join an elite body of just 135 people, mostly men, and journey to the stars. With more than 4,000 applicants chasing just 20 places available every two years, competition is tight and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sets tough standards for the physically and mentally challenging job.

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