On Thursday the Obama Administration is scheduled to release the “outline” of its FY2010 budget proposal (the complete budget proposal won’t be ready until late March or early April). Aviationweek.com reports that the administration will propose $18.7 billion for NASA for FY10. That would be nearly $1 billion more than what they agency is likely to get in the regular FY09 omnibus appropriations currently being considered by Congress. However, when the $1 billion in stimulus funding is added, it works out to about the same (although the stimulus money will remain available to the agency through the end of FY2010). This issue—how FY10 budgets would stack up to FY09 plus the stimulus package—had caused some concern in the scientific community in general: some worried that a one-time bump from the stimulus would lead to starting programs that could not be sustained over the long haul. At least for NASA this appears to be less of a concern.
The Aviationweek.com article adds that the budget proposal “sticks with the goal of returning humans to the moon by 2020″. This is not necessarily surprising, since that had been part of the campaign’s space policy document, which stated that Obama “endorses the goal of sending human missions to the Moon by 2020.” What the article doesn’t say, though, is whether the administration endorses the current exploration architecture, the multibillion-dollar question occupying much of the civil space community in recent months. Given that the budget document released tomorrow is only an outline of the complete budget—and that the administration has yet to announce a nominee for NASA administrator—such details may not be forthcoming for some time.