An Orlando Sentinel report about yesterday’s Bolden-Obama meeting includes some new details about separate meetings the NASA administrator had on Capitol Hill earlier yesterday. Bolden reportedly told members and staffers that the White House was “favoring” including a $1 billion increase in the agency’s budget in the FY2011 budget proposal to be released early next year. That increase would be roughly consistent with what the Augustine committee proposed in its “less constrained” budget in 2011, but whether that increase would be sustained beyond 2011 (as it is in the Augustine proposal) isn’t mentioned.
The Sentinel report also mentions that the agency has prepared four white papers for the administration: a general report about the agency, technology development, the “challenges” of human Mars exploration, and “the risks of developing commercial rockets and a new heavy launcher”. Bolden also mentioned at the Congressional meetings that he did not expect an “immediate decision” on NASA’s future plans from the White House.
Update 8 pm: a Space News article this afternoon has some more details, including the plans that NASA is proposing to the White House. According to the report, NASA prepared four options for the White House to consider prior to Bolden’s meeting with the president, all of which were variations on the Flexible Path option from the Augustine committee report. And there’s more:
Government and industry sources told Space News that the option favored by senior administration officials would add $1 billion to NASA’s annual budget beginning in 2011, with most of the money designated for human spaceflight programs. It would also scrap the Ares 1 rocket in favor of outsourcing space operations in low Earth orbit to the private sector. Among the other scenarios Bolden went to the meeting prepared to discuss with Obama, these sources said, were options that ranged from either cutting the agency’s budget slightly or holding it flat to giving the agency a $3 billion-a-year increase.