Friday, March 23, 2018

NASA & US Science Programs Win Big in 2018 US Budget

         By Henry Stewart

The 2018 omnibus budget passed by both the US Congress and the US Senate this week will allocate NASA $20.7Bln US ($26Bln CDN), significantly more than either the Trump Administration or NASA had originally requested.

As outlined in the March 22nd, 2018 Behind the Black post, "Congress pumps pork money to NASA in omnibus budget," the budget:
... gives SLS (the Space Launch System a space shuttle-derived heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, which is part of NASA's deep space exploration plans) and Orion (the crew capsule currently under development by NASA for launch on the SLS) more than $3Bln US ($3.88Bln CDN), funds all the Earth science and education projects the Trump administration wished to cut, as well as WFIRST (the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope), which the Trump administration wants to cancel because of cost overruns.
Overall, the new budget provides $1.083Bln US ($1.4Bln CDN) more than what NASA received for FY2017 and $1.644Bln US ($2.13Bln CDN) more than the Trump Administration’s FY2018 request.

According to the March 22nd, 2018 Planetary Society post, "NASA stands to win big with pending budget deal," Congress reached a broad budget deal that lifted self-imposed spending caps—the "sequester"—for the next two years:
Yesterday, we saw the fruit of that deal with the release of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, a bill that would fund nearly all government agencies through the remainder of this fiscal year (which ends September 30). 
NASA—and science in general—did very well in this legislation. Congress thoroughly rejected every major cut proposed to NASA and other science agencies by the Trump Administration, often providing them with funding increases instead. 
This is arguably the best budget for national science investment in a decade.

Oddly enough, the increased US science funding follows closely on the heels of significant increases for Canadian science funding in the 2018 Canadian Federal budget.

As outlined in the March 1st, 2018 post, ""Patent Boxes," our Canadian Space Agency and the Lack of Real Innovation in the 2018 Federal Budget," the 2018 budget allocated "$3.8Bln CDN of new funding spread over the next five years to a range of science and academic programs."

The current NASA budget is broadly equivalent to the annual Canadian military budget, but higher than Canadian science focused funding.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) budget hovers around $350-400Mln CDN annually.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer

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