WASHINGTON — A draft House spending bill would provide NASA with a smaller spending increase than requested for fiscal year 2023, with budget cuts spread across exploration, science and technology programs.
The House Appropriations Committee released its Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) spending bill late June 21, a day before the CJS subcommittee will flag the bill. The full credits committee will consider the bill on June 28.
The draft bill includes $25.446 billion for NASA for fiscal year 2023. That’s $1.4 billion, or 5.8%, more than what NASA received in fiscal year 2022, but $527 million less than what the agency received in March. in its budget proposal.
The bill reduces funding increases for most major NASA budget bills, including aviation, exploration, science, space operations and space technology. For example, NASA sought nearly $8 billion for science, but the House bill offers $7.9 billion.
The bill contains few details about funding specific programs, details that are usually included in a separate report that will be released later in the credit process. In space technology, the bill brings in $1.25 billion for space technology, compared to the nearly $1.44 billion request. However, the bill specifies that $227 million will be spent on a satellite service mission called OSAM-1 (formerly Restore-L) and $110 million on nuclear thermal propulsion. NASA sought $227 million for OSAM-1, but only $15 million for nuclear propulsion.
The House bill provides for $7.32 billion for deep space exploration systems, about $155 million under the government’s request. However, the bill specified funding for the Space Launch System, Orion and Exploration Ground Systems at or slightly above the request. That means the drop would be absorbed by other reconnaissance programs, such as the Moon Gateway and Human Landing System.
The bill’s lack of detail has left it silent on some of the more controversial provisions of the budget proposal. That includes NASA’s proposal to cut funding for the Near Earth Object (NEO) Surveyor mission, a space telescope to search for potentially dangerous asteroids. NASA asked for just $40 million for the mission in 2023, compared with $170 million previously estimated for the mission in 2023. The agency said the cut, which would delay the mission’s planned launch in 2026 by at least two years. needed to absorb cost growth in 2023. other programs.
In a June 16 letter, leaders of two advocacy groups, the National Space Society and The Planetary Society, asked the owners of the House and Senate to reject the rebate and fully fund NEO Surveyor. It cited an endorsement of the mission in the recent planetary science decadal survey, published after the budget proposal was published, and the value of detecting asteroids in space.
At a June 21 meeting of the Planetary Science Advisory Committee, Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s planetary science division, acknowledged that the budget proposal is “not great” for NEO Surveyor. “We recognize that it is very difficult for NEO Surveyor,” she said. “We have not diminished our interest in completing NEO Surveyor. We certainly want to continue the mission.”