The Senate Appropriations Committee has issued its proposed FY2011 omnibus appropriations bill, after the House passed its version of a 2011 spending bill last week. The NASA sections begin on page 184 and appear to be very similar, of not identical, to the House version, including several key items:
- $1.8 billion for HLV development, with the requirement that its initial capacity be not less than 130 tons;
- $1.2 billion for the multipurpose crew vehicle (aka Orion);
- $250 million for commercial crew and $300 million for commercial cargo
One minor addition to the Senate bill: it includes $15 million for a reimbursable agreement with the Department of Energy to restart plutonium production for use in RTGs, something the science community has been pushing for in recent years in order to support outer solar system and other missions where solar panels are impractical.