I’ll try to write more about this later in the week – for now I will, like the FYI newsletter, quote the introduction to the Senate report.
NASA’s vision for space exploration maps out an aggressive role for the United States in manned space exploration. However, the potential costs are substantial and will likely be very difficult to maintain at the current estimated funding levels. In addition, the Committee feels strongly that NASA must show its commitment to those human spaceflight activities already underway. The Shuttle program and the construction of the International Space Station [ISS] continue to be the primary focus of the Nation’s manned space flight activities. Nevertheless, the replacements for the Space Shuttle’s manned and heavy lift capabilities must also be considered as part of any plan for continued human access to space but not to the detriment of existing obligations.
The Committee is concerned that NASA will neglect areas that only tangentially benefit, or do not fit within, the exploration vision. The Committee believes that NASA must work diligently to balance existing programs and priorities with its plans for the future. Counterbalancing future priorities against current programs places existing research and expertise in jeopardy and risks squandering significant Federal investments that may be essential to the exploration vision.
In addition, the Committee is concerned that the strong, balanced science program that has served the Nation so successfully for many years is being left behind rather than being nurtured and sustained. That science program has been based on a set of carefully crafted scientific strategies that are founded on scientific and technical merit, relevance to overall national needs, and broad consultation with the scientific community.”
Yesterday afternoon the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of a bill to provide $193 billion in additional funding for war-fighting costs and other programs. Under this Supplemental Appropriations Bill, a total of $1.2 billion would be allocated for spending this year by NASA, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the National Institutes of Health.
Some numbers, from the FYI newsletter:
- $200 Million for NASA (for space shuttle, manned spaceflight, etc.)
- $200 Million for NSF
- $100 Million for DOE
- $400 Million for NIH
The $1.2 billion number is mentioned in this press release (PDF link). The gory details, which I haven’t had a chance to look at yet, are in this summary of the actual bill language (also a PDF), or even more fun reading, the actual amendment text (PDF).
Where this goes, as far as being passed, or having to be negotiated with the House, all in the face of a veto from the White House, is still up in the air for now.
Science groups want war cash – Chris Frates – Politico.com. The Politico has a story on the efforts of science groups to put science funding in the upcoming supplemental funding bills that will fund the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and touches on the disappointment in last year’s budget to realize the science funding increases promised in America COMPETES and the American Competitiveness Initiative.