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The Obama administration released its 2015 proposed federal budget today, including its budget proposal for NASA.
The spending plan supports the Obama administration’s decision to extend U.S. operations of the International Space Station to 2024 with about $3 billion, funds NASA’s Space Launch System and Orion crew capsule with nearly $2.8 billion, and requests $848 million for development of commercial spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from low Earth orbit and end U.S. reliance on Russian Soyuz vehicles.
The budget proposal of $17.5 billion is essential flat, with a 1 percent cut from last year. It also includes proposals for several Earth science missions as well as a mission to Europa. In addition, it grounds the SOFIA airborne telescope, which has turned out to be as expensive to operate as Hubble while being far less productive.
The $848 for the commercial program is approximately the same number the Obama administration has requested every year. Congress has routinely cut this number, but has cut it less each year as time has passed. I suspect that they will cut even less this year, considering the tensions with Russia right now over the Ukraine. We need our own vehicles to ferry astronauts into space, and commercial space is right now the only way it is going to get done.