The administration passed on a proposal to the House to increase funding for NASA to further space explorations. Unfortunately, said the proposal was turned down, and instead replaced by a fixed liquidation for NASA’s 2021 budget, primarily intended for lunar landers.
The CJS appropriations bill would grant NASA with $22.6 billion for the year 2021, slightly lesser than the original $25.2 billion proposed by the administration. The Exploration Research and Development, which handles the development of moon landing systems, took the biggest hit. The requested $4.7 billion for the department went down to $1.5 billion for the incoming year.
As 2024 draws closer, NASA needs to pick up the pace in making sure that the next lunar landing of man and the first lunar landing for a woman comes through in the said year (also called the Artemis program). In line with the time demand, an increase in budget is also necessary to provide the resources needed for the mission. However, the $3.3 billion request was not granted, and only replaced with $628.2 million.
Other budget changes include:
- Increase of Science program budget from the requested $6.3 billion to $7.1.
- From $2.26 billion proposal for Space Launch System to $2.6 billion granted.
- $1.58 billion down to $1.1 billion allocation for space technology.
- Allocation of $126 million to the NASA STEM engagement to continue operations instead of granting a proposed request for the shutdown.
- The $403.5 million budget proposed for the Europa clipper remains unchanged.
NASA has chosen three companies in the United States to spearhead the design and production of the HLS (Human Landing System) for the voyage to the moon.
- Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, is in charge of the Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV)
- Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, will be responsible for the Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS)
- SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is developing the Starship – a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket.
Even with these tiny disappointments, NASA continues to hope for the best. More than 50 years after mankind’s giant leap, the space agency is determined to make the Artemis program the space flight breakthrough of the 21st century.