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NASA budget passed by Congress rejects ’24 lunar landing

No surprise: The NASA budget that was passed by Congress this week as part of a giant omnibus bill only gave NASA 25% of the requested funds the agency says it needs to develop a human lander required for an Artemis manned mission to the Moon by ’24.

Overall, NASA will receive $23.271 billion, almost $2 billion less than requested. Importantly for the Trump Administration’s Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, it provides only $850 million instead of $3.4 billion for Human Landing Systems.

…The Trump Administration requested a 12 percent increase for NASA in order to fund the Artemis program: $25.2 billion for FY2021 compared to the $22.9 billion it received in FY2020. While the goal of returning astronauts to the Moon has broad bipartisan support in Congress, the Trump deadline of 2024 — set because it would have been the end of his second term if he had been reelected — won lukewarm support at best from Republicans and none from Democrats who pointed to both budgetary and technical hurdles.

It was always clear that the Democrats were not going to cooperate with Trump to could get that lunar landing during his second term. Moreover, the real goal of Artemis is not space exploration, but distributing pork. Stretching out these missions so that they take many many years achieves that goal far better than a tight competitive schedule that gets things done. This is why SLS and Orion have been under construction, with no flights, for decades, even as SpaceX moves forward with Starship/Super Heavy in only a few years.

A Biden presidency actually increases the changes that Artemis will get better funding, but that funding will always be designed to stretch out the program for as long as possible. Our policymakers in Washington really do not care much for the interest of the nation. What they care about is their own power and aggrandizement.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Max

    In short, it’s a welfare program.

    They’ve allocated enough money to keep the welfare recipients comfortable, and the congressman, in those districts, in power with huge kickbacks/campaign donations for themselves.

  • janyuary

    Max … well said, it has become a welfare program for political dependents, rather the way government grants for the arts are welfare programs for talentless “artistic” children of the wealthy.

    I have a hunch all of this is going to be moot soon. A society that ignore arithmetic in the face of fear, is guaranteed to be easily conquered.

  • Kyle

    Lets hope Musk wants to beat the Chinese to the moon, because the only one who has the drive and the technology for future space exploration is SpaceX.

  • David M. Cook

    It sure would be nice to see a list of what everyone at NASA is getting paid. No need to name names, but I‘d sure like to know what the pay scale looks like, and how it compares to a worker at Wal-mart or a waitress who can‘t work due to illegal workplace restrictions. NOTE: Restaurants & bars are getting nothing from this new round of government spending!

  • pzatchok

    All engineers start at 98.000 a year. This includes all astronauts.

    All other positions are under government unions. So they are on the GS system.
    Add in what they call a location bonus depending on each areas average cost of living compared to the national average.

    Military personnel are on their own pay scale.

  • Edward

    Kyle wrote: “Lets hope Musk wants to beat the Chinese to the moon, because the only one who has the drive and the technology for future space exploration is SpaceX

    I have been a Bill Whittle fan for many years. Several years ago he had a vision, if I can embellish a little — my memory is failing me a bit — of two Chinese taikonauts (Yuhangyuans, 航天员, “space navigating personnel”) landing on the Moon, getting out of their craft and reporting back to Earth how wonderful it is to be there. They plant a flag and make more speeches to Earth. They offload some equipment, and set it up. They start taking soil and rock samples as well as drilling into the ground for core samples.

    Then a rover pulls up, an astronaut hops out, and tells them that he is there to take them and their luggage to the Lunar Hilton, just on the other side of that crater.

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