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FYI Number 21: February 8, 2006

NASA FY 2007 Request: Focus on Exploration Systems

NASA funding would grow to $16,792.3 million under President Bush's FY 2007 budget request. If FY 2006 emergency supplemental funding for hurricane recovery is eliminated, this represents an increase of 3.2%, or $169.3 million. The largest growth would be experienced by Exploration Systems, focusing on development of a new Crew Exploration Vehicle to replace the space shuttle and support the Vision for Space Exploration. Funding for NASA's science programs would grow slightly, while education programs, aeronautics research, and exploration capabilities would all receive cuts. In his budget briefing statement, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin called the request "a modest investment to extend the frontiers of space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. With it, we enhance American leadership, our safety and security, and our global economic competitiveness."

Below are brief highlights of the NASA budget request. Further information, including Griffin's statement, charts, and detailed explanations of each Directorate's projects and plans, as well as prior-year budgets, can be found on NASA's web site at http://www.nasa.gov/about/budget/index.html.

SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND EXPLORATION DIRECTORATE: Up 8.3%, or $803.1 million, from $9,721.3 million to $10,524.4 million.

SCIENCE: Within the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration Directorate, the Science account, comprising the themes of Solar System Exploration, Universe, and Earth-Sun System, would receive an increase of 1.5%, or $76.3 million, from $5,253.7 million to $5,330.0 million.

Griffin noted in his statement that the agency's "budget for space and Earth Science has seen significant budget increases for over a decade, far surpassing any growth in NASA's top-line budgets during those years. For FY 2007-11, we cannot afford such growth for science within the context of a top-line budget that is growing at essentially the rate of inflation. Thus, NASA's science budget will grow by 1.5 percent in FY 2007 and 1 percent thereafter between 2008 and 2011."

EXPLORATION SYSTEMS: Also within the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration Directorate, this account, which includes the Crew Exploration Vehicle and Crew Launch Vehicle projects as well as research and technology for human systems and exploration systems, would grow by 30.4%, or $928.2 million, from $3,050.1 million to $3,978.3 million.

EDUCATION: Also included in the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration Directorate, under "Cross-Agency Support Programs," is Education. NASA Education programs would be cut by 5.6%, or $9.1 million, from $162.4 million to $153.3 million.

EXPLORATION CAPABILITIES DIRECTORATE: Down 4.4%, or $635.3 million, from $6,869.7 million to $6,234.4 million. This directorate includes funding for the space shuttle and the International Space Station. Funding for the space station would be increased by 3.3%, to $1,811.3 million. Griffin's statement includes comments about cuts to space station research, designation of the station as a National Laboratory in the NASA authorization bill, and attempts to complete station assembly with as few shuttle flights as possible, so the shuttle can be retired in 2010.

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
fyi@aip.org
301-209-3094

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