President Bush has requested $17,309.4 million for NASA in fiscal year
2008, an increase of 3.1%, or $517.1 million, over the FY 2007 request
of $16,792.3 million. This request continues NASA Administrator Michael
Griffin's strategy of slowing the growth rate for science programs while
completing the International Space Station (ISS), developing new launch
and exploration vehicles, and retiring the Space Shuttle. "You
will not find major strategic changes in the FY 2008 budget request
as compared to last year," said Griffin in prepared remarks, "but
you will see some slight course corrections." Science funding would
grow by 0.9%, while Exploration Capabilities (which includes the Shuttle
and ISS) would grow by 11.2%. According to agency budget documents,
"NASA's greatest challenge" is using the shuttle to safely
complete the ISS "while bringing new human spaceflight capabilities
on-line not later than 2014." The documents state that these are
"once-in-a-generation" activities, and a "slower rate
of budget growth for Science missions is necessary to avoid a prolonged
gap in strategic capability of U.S. human spaceflight."
As pointed out in FYI
#15, the FY 2007 appropriations process is not yet completed.
Griffin noted that the House-passed FY07 continuing resolution would
cut NASA's current-year funding by $545 million from the FY07 request.
All comparisons below are between the FY08 request and the FY07 request.
SCIENCE, AERONAUTICS AND EXPLORATION DIRECTORATE: Down 1.6%,
or $167.5 million, from $10,650.6 million to $10,483.1 million.
SCIENCE: Up 0.9%, or $49.3 million, from $5,466.8 million
to $5,516.1 million.
The Science budget, which falls under the Science, Aeronautics and
Exploration Directorate, is now broken up by disciplines rather than
broad themes as it was in past years. NASA documents show funding comparisons
for the disciplines as follows:
Planetary Science: Down 1.1%, or $15.4 million, from
$1,411.2 million to $1,395.8 million.
Heliophysics: Up 2.8%, or $29.1 million, from $1,028.1
million to $1,057.2 million.
Astrophysics: Up 0.2%, or $2.8 million, from $1,563.0
million to $1,565.8 million.
Earth Science: Up 2.2%, or $32.8 million, from $1,464.5
million to $1,497.3 million.
According to the budget documents, "The rate of growth previously
planned for Science was not sustainable" while completing the ISS
and retiring the shuttle. Therefore, the "Science program budget
is moderated to 1% annual growth in FY08-11, and then growing consistent
with NASA's topline growth thereafter" (projected as 2.4% in FY12).
Additionally, "The Science budget balances investments based on
National Academy of Sciences priorities and programmatic needs."
Among other programs within the Science, Aeronautics and Exploration
Directorate, Exploration Systems would decline 5.5% to $3,923.8 million;
Aeronautics Research would grow 4.7% to $554.0 million; and Education
would decline 8.2% to $153.7 million.
EXPLORATION CAPABILITIES DIRECTORATE: Up 11.2%, or $683.4 million,
from $6,108.3 million to $6,791.7 million.
Within this Directorate, Space Shuttle would decline 0.3% to $4,007.5
million; and ISS would grow 27.0% to $2,238.6 million.