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Biden administration’s proposed ’22 NASA budget boosts spending in all programs

The just released summary budget by the Biden administration for 2022 includes a $1.5 billion increase in NASA’s budget, with increases for every NASA project across the board.

Maybe the only part of this that is surprising is the $325 million increase to the manned Artemis project to return to the Moon. Democrats have traditionally tried to cut such programs, even as they increased the spending in NASA’s climate budget. Though the Biden administration has shown that its priorities remain in line with this by increasing NASA’s climate budget by a hefty $2.3 billion, it did not cut Artemis but increased its budget also.

This budget proposal is also in line with the general trend in Washington, which is to spend money as if it grows on trees. Trump had also increased NASA’s budget, but tried to counter those increases with cuts in other areas, both in NASA and elsewhere. None of his proposed cuts however were ever really approved, as Congress has no interest in cutting anything.

Now that Biden and the bureaucracy is in power the money to them is going to flow like water from a burst dam. Whether the American people actually benefit from this spending remains to be seen. In general, since the 1960s the payoff from increased federal spending has been poor to terrible. I don’t see any reason to expect otherwise, even if the support of manned space exploration by the Biden administration helps fuel a new commercial renaissance in space. That renaissance cannot last if the country that supports it goes bankrupt.

Conscious Choice cover

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From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


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  • Jeff Wright

    NASA isn’t what is going to be what bankrupts us. Now the Brit Cassiopia SPSS may pump money into aerospace if a pilot program with that climate change money can get things started. Use Euros. They got free rides in NATO for how long? ‘Beats their fusion record.

  • David K

    Which parts of Artemis are they funding exactly? If they are just dumping money into SLS, that’s probably bad. If they are spending it on a landing system or even the gateway (which is really just an over designed lunar orbit rendezvous), that would be fine too. We need to know the details

  • Max
    And 9000 for death…

    Central America will get more money then NASA in hopes he’ll keep people from migrating.

    Government says inflation is less than 2%, independent surveys say it’s over 10% and climbing fast. At the rate the Democrats are spending money, it will take a wheel barrel full to buy a loaf of bread. (The progressives said that Venezuela is the model they were shooting for) The country will be broke and the dollar will no longer be the world reserve currency. Of course this was the plan anyway because the federal reserve has already announced the new money.

  • David K: This is only a budget proposal by the Biden administration. And it is only a summary, with little detail. It will be up to Congress to determine the specific funding levels for specific programs.

  • Col Beausabre

    Great Society 2.0 – remember how successful version 1,0 was……

  • D. Messier

    Earth science is increasing by $250 million to $2.3 billion. Not increased by $2.3 billion. The budget for it has been fairly flat for some years. The increase reflects one of Biden’s priorities.

  • eddie willers

    Great Society 2.0 – remember how successful version 1,0 was……

    Yes. It was the War on Poverty.

    We lost.

  • Richard M

    Honestly, in broad strokes this is probably close to what Trump would have submitted. Granted, he would have proposed more for Artemis HLS, and less for earth science and education…and then, as we all know, Congress would have opted to adjust those areas in opposite directions. Really, we’re seeing continuity here, save in some details. Congress won’t change this budget save at the outer margins.

    The larger point about NASA wasting money is of course well taken, though I think this is mostly – “mostly,” I say – in the human space flight programs, precisely because this is the area where Congress kibitzes the most. Killing off SLS would hack away a d****d big thick slice of the waste, but we also understand just how difficult that would be for a president who actually wanted to do it. As we now know, when Jim Bridenstine merely suggested the *possibility* of launching the first Artemis flight on a commercial heavy lifter, Rchard Shelby dragged him into his office and demanded his immediate resignation. Trump and Pence decided they were not going to give Shelby Jimbo’s head, but they also quickly decided it was not worth the pain to fight Shelby over the idea, either. I give Pence and Bridenstine some credit for quietly shifting as much in the way of other payloads (Europa Clipper, Gateway modules and supply, etc.) to commercial launchers . . . which could at least set the stage for euthanizing SLS down the road.

    Anyway, it has been obvious for some time that NASA is not going to land anyone on the Moon until the latter part of the decade, at best. What we need is for Elon to just shake it all up by landing a Starship on lunar regolith before that happens. Which could happen, if he really wants to do it, even with the setbacks he’s having with prototype testing.

  • Richard M

    Hello Doug,

    Earth science is increasing by $250 million to $2.3 billion. Not increased by $2.3 billion. The budget for it has been fairly flat for some years. The increase reflects one of Biden’s priorities.

    I’ll be honest, I was surprised – I expected a much bigger boost in earth science. $250 million+ barely paces inflation here.

    Maybe we should treat the first year as a placeholder for them, with bigger changes in this realm in 2022 once they have had time to sort things out.

  • Edward

    Richard M wrote: “… even with the setbacks he’s having with prototype testing.

    I’m not so sure that these are setbacks. It was clear from Musk’s surprise at the success of the high altitude flip on the first high altitude test flight that the expectation was that both flips would be problematic. This expectation explains why so many test articles are in production, and SN8’s successful high altitude turnover explains why they cancelled three test items and their test flights. SpaceX seems to be three test flights farther along than they expected to be by now, which may be putting pressure on the orbital flight team to get ready sooner than they had originally expected.

    It is clear to me that SpaceX believes the results of each test give exactly the kinds of lessons that they need in order to make Starship reliable. Even DC-X didn’t get this far in its test series. This is what Tom Wolfe meant by “pushing the envelope” in his book The Right Stuff.

  • D. Messier

    Richard M:

    I’m not sure what the $250 million represents in specific programs. NASA is just one of a number of government agencies that work on climate change. I suspect NOAA and other agencies are getting boosts for climate change work.

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