February 11, 2016 – On Tuesday, February 9, as part of the rollout of President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal for NASA, Administrator Charles Bolden delivered a “State of NASA” speech at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. During the speech, Bolden highlighted scientific and technological achievements by the agency over the past few years and discussed cutting-edge future work, including sending American astronauts to Mars in the 2030’s.
The President’s proposed $19 billion Budget prioritizes technology development and innovative commercial programs to reduce costs, enable new space commerce and increase U.S. capabilities. The Budget contains both discretionary and mandatory funding to ensure sufficient support for NASA’s science, technology, aeronautics, and exploration programs.
“While our future is unknown, we can say with a great deal of certainty that investments in NASA’s today are investments in our children’s and grandchildren’s tomorrow,” said Bolden. “Ultimately, this tomorrow will be shaped by the choices made by future leaders. When it comes to aeronautics and space, President Obama has set us on a visionary course. It’s my sincere hope that future leaders from all sides of the political spectrum see it through.”
Partners With American Commercial Space Enterprises. The Budget reaffirms NASA’s partnership with the U.S. commercial space industry to develop and operate safe, reliable, and affordable systems to transport crew to and from the International Space Station (ISS) and Earth orbit in coming years. The Budget also supports continued use of commercial cargo services that are essential to ISS research. This critical partnership continues to produce a more globally competitive U.S. space launch industry, and enables the United States to take advantage of the Station’s research capabilities, advancing knowledge on a range of research areas with applications on Earth and in space.
Extends Human Habitation. The Budget funds early-stage public-private partnerships leading to the development of habitation capabilities near the moon. By extending habitation capabilities into this “proving ground,” humans will learn to better survive and operate in deep space, advancing critical capabilities needed for eventual exploration missions to Mars and providing benefits to the commercial space economy closer to Earth.
Invests In Developing Space Technologies. New technologies will increase the affordability, capability, and safety of NASA, other federal government, and industry space activities. The Budget funds the testing and development of new technologies in laboratories on the ISS, and on other space missions. One of the key technologies this Budget supports is a high-powered solar electric propulsion (SEP) capability that will give future NASA, other government, and commercial missions new capabilities. SEP will power a robotic mission that will visit an asteroid, test approaches for changing its course, and bring a boulder back to the vicinity of the Moon for further study.
Continues Development of Deep Space Exploration. The Budget keeps development of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft on track to send astronauts on deep space missions in the 2020s and beyond. The Budget also furthers development of critical technologies for exploration in areas including life support and deep space habitation. Finally, the Budget supports research on living and operating in space on the ISS – work that will continue on commercial space stations after the end of the ISS program in the 2020s.
Advances Knowledge Of Our Home Planet. The Budget provides $2 billion for multiple Earth science missions to study Earth as a complex, dynamic system of diverse components. This includes the oceans, atmosphere, continents, ice sheets, and life. The Budget supports increased funding for research to analyze data from Earth-observing satellites and accelerates the launch of the next land-imaging satellite in the Landsat series from 2023 to 2021.
Continues Exploration of the Solar System and Unlocks Mysteries of the Universe. The Budget includes $3.6 billion for space science, including funding for the James Webb Space Telescope, the next Mars rover mission, and a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The Budget continues formulation activities for WFIRST, a space telescope with a field of view that will be 100 times larger than the images provided by the Hubble Telescope.
Invests in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Through NASA Education programs, the Budget strengthens the research capabilities of the Nation’s colleges and universities and provides opportunities that attract and prepare an increasing number of students for STEM and NASA-related careers.
Promotes Innovation in Aviation. The Budget provides $790 million in FY 2017 for aeronautics research aimed at transforming the safety, capacity, and efficiency of the air transportation system while minimizing negative impacts on the environment. The Budget initiates a series of large-scale demonstration projects to test cutting-edge technologies in realistic environments and enable their widespread adoption. The Budget includes $3.7 billion over the next ten years to accelerate the realization of low-carbon air transportation, as part of the Administration’s 21st Century Clean Transportation Plan.
Supports Innovation in Small Satellites. The Budget triples funding for CubeSat (a type of small satellite) proposals in NASA Science and supports a new initiative to investigate the use of small satellite constellations to observe the Earth. Small satellites are a potentially disruptive technology that may offer additional opportunities to meet science and technology development objectives at substantially lower costs and with more rapid development cycles than traditional missions. The United States is an early leader in this game-changing technology, and additional investments by NASA programs will help maintain that position. Additionally, the Budget increases funding for the Small Spacecraft Technologies program by nearly 50 percent. Additional funding allows the program to expand its opportunities to small and large businesses and partner with NASA experts and academia to develop new technologies to improve the capabilities of small satellites.
Realigns Agency-wide IT Governance and Investments Under the Chief Information Officer. The Budget supports steps to improve the management, use, and oversight of NASA IT investments with the development of a new governance structure and the transfer of existing resources to the NASA Chief Information Officer. These steps will enable NASA to consolidate existing IT investments resulting in a more cost-effective IT program across the agency.
Leverages NASA Technologies to Strengthen the U.S. Innovation Ecosystem. The Budget continues to make new investments in technology transfer, Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) commercialization, and regional economic development activities that support the commercialization of NASA funded research and development. In support of the Administration’s Lab-to-Market Cross Agency Priority goal, NASA is putting tools in the hands of every NASA Center to build partnerships with startups and regional innovation networks across the nation.
View the full budget proposal online.