NASA budget hints

How much money will NASA get in the President’s 2006 budget proposal? The original budget plan unveiled with the Vision for Space Exploration a year ago (dubbed the “sand chart”) showed NASA getting roughly five percent budget increases in FY05 and ’06. While NASA got essentially all the money it asked for in ’05, the picture for 2006 has been murkier, in part because of signals from Administration officials that there will be a freeze—if not cuts—on non-defense and non-homeland security programs. (News reports have described the proposed budget as both “tight” and “aggressive”.)

However, outgoing NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe told reporters Friday that he believes that the Administration will still give the agency a budget increase for FY06, although the Houston Chronicle reports that O’Keefe didn’t say how big of an increase the agency can expect. The FY06 budget will be released on February 7: O’Keefe said he plans to leave NASA days afterward for his new job as chancellor of LSU.

One other interesting comment: Florida Today noted that O’Keefe said that while President Bush remained quiet about the exploration vision in public in 2004—to avoid politicizing it during the campaign—he personally lobbied members of Congress to gain their support for the plan. O’Keefe: “I’ll take actions over further commentary at any time.” If the budget really is as “tight” and “aggressive” as reported, those actions may well be needed again to convince budget-conscious Congressmen to give NASA another budget increase.

1 comment to NASA budget hints

  • TORO

    Looking ahead, the outcomes of return to flight and the FY06 budget may some commonalities. I wonder how comfortable and excited Russian submariners felt going back out following the Kursk. Likewise, how much perceived success remains with the shuttle going back out… seems it can only achieve status quo at the very best, below quota most likely, and then there is always the probability of “failure”. Where is the success? The answer is it is still unlearned … since at least Apollo 13 and still going …