NASA’s 2017 budget might see a modest trim as the White House proposed a new budget package cut of approximately 1.5 percent. The White House proposal may be countered by stark congressional opposition playing out on the same tunes we’re familiar with.
The largest cuts are also the ones expected to spark congressional opposition. These concern deep-space exploration although other points on NASA’s to do list are also targeted. The White House proposal suggests a cut from 19.3 billion dollars to 19 billion dollars.
Previously, deep-space exploration harnessed strong bipartisan support. As a result, the accounts for this sector increased significantly compared to the White House requests. This time, the White House proposal aims to cut spending by approximately 800 million dollars. It looks like the Obama administration would like to see expenditures lowered to levels below those in place at the beginning of the President’s second term. The White House requests are backed by sound arguments.
Nonetheless, the move sparked an outcry from lawmakers and industry groups. Charles Boden addressed the White House proposal during a conference on Tuesday, restating the importance of manned missions in deep space exploration. The Republican chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Rep. Lamar Smith stated with view to the White House proposal:
“It is an imbalanced proposal…not the proposal of an administration that is serious about maintaining America’s leadership in space”.
Odd as it may seem, congressional officials and NASA officials inched closer and closer to a compromise on the budgetary needs of the U.S. Space Agency during previous months. The compromise did suggest higher spending rates than those preferred by the White House. Nonetheless, it was backed by bipartisan support for manned missions, deep space exploration, commercial rockets and low-Earth orbit spacecrafts.
Despite this compromise, NASA’s 2017 budget might see a modest trim. Nonetheless, 8.4 billion dollars are still slotted for International Space Station maintenance in addition to the commercial partnership program.
The Space Launch System (SLS) would see a deep budget cut. Budgeted at 2 billion dollars in 2016, the White House proposal sees the SLS budget at 1.3 billion dollars. The Orion crew capsule projected received substantial funds for 2016. In 2017, the Orion crew capsule project could see a budget cut of 150 million dollars. Both these projects are deemed paramount for NASA’s deep space exploration, including manned missions to Mars.
As NASA’s 2017 budget might see a modest trim, the U.S. space agency’s plans might suffer some modifications as well. Focus might switch from manned missions to the Red Planet to manned missions targeting the Moon.