No joy for the NASA budget

By Phil Plait | January 30, 2007 10:16 pm

From Space Politics comes the bad news: NASA will not get any additional money this year. Right now, they (like the rest of the government) are running on the budget from fiscal year 2006. The last Congress did not pass a budget before they fled left, so the new Congress said the government has to run FY07 on the FY06 budget. I already wrote about this.

Well, the House Appropriations Committee just filed a measure (to be voted on Wednesday, and it will probably pass) that will extend the continuing resolution for the rest of 2007. Usually, these CRs are temporary until a new budget can be passed, but the House is a bit of a mess right now, and the Committee decided that until they can get earmarks under control, the government gets to spend the rest of FY07 (which started on October 1, 2006 and ends September 30, 2007) using the FY06 budget.

For NASA overall, this hits hard. There was a 500 million dollar budget increase from 06 to 07. That’s gone now. Poof.

According to the Space Politics article, NASA will not be allowed to shuffle money, either. This is very interesting: the big hit is to the Exploration Division, which is where they are building the new system to take men to the Moon and Mars. I was assuming that science was about to be eviscerated to funnel money back into Exploration. However, NASA is not going to be allowed to do this.

So science just got a reprieve, sortof. Science is still taking a $100 million hit with the CR, so something’s gotta give.

Interestingly, I just got a note that says that NASA will be announcing its 2008 budget on Monday, February 5 (unfortunately, I will be at a scientific conference and may not be able to listen in). I’ll be very curious to see how this all pans out. I am sure they’ll talk about this new budget, what will get hit (I suspect they’ll be evasive on details until they can work on the fallout of the cuts), and how this will affect the Hubble servicing mission. Stay Tuned.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: NASA, Piece of mind, Politics, Science

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